FACTS & STATS: Site: Doyt Perry Stadium (23,724) — Bowling Green, Ohio.
Television: ESPN 2. Home Record: Kent State 1-4, Bowling Green 3-1. Away
Record: Kent State 0-4, Bowling Green 3-2. Neutral Record: Kent State 0-0,
Bowling Green 0-0. Conference Record: Kent State 0-5, Bowling Green 4-1.
Series Record: Bowling Green leads, 56-19-6.
GAME NOTES: The Bowling Green Falcons look to lock up the Mid-American
Conference East Division with a win Wednesday as they host the Kent State
Golden Flashes in a conference bout at Doyt Perry Stadium.
Bowling Green sits on a 4-1 record in conference play – a game and a half
above the second-place Ohio Bobcats, who are on a bye this weekend. After
taking down Akron last week, 27-10, the Falcons can clinch the MAC East
Division title with a win over Kent State.
The Golden Flashes are continuing to struggle, having lost two consecutive
games since their win over Army in mid October. They dropped a contest last
week to Toledo, 30-20, marking just the second time all season the team scored
at least 20 points.
Bowling Green has dominated the all-time series against Kent State, owning a
56-19-6 record in the 81 meetings between the sides. They clashed last season
at Dix Stadium, where the Falcons came away with a 41-22 victory.
Kent State was exceptionally cold offensively last Tuesday against Toledo,
especially in the first half. The Rockets leapt to a 23-0 advantage midway
through the third quarter when the Golden Flashes finally got on the board.
Some late-game touchdowns helped close the gap, but Kent State still wound up
on the losing side of the scoreboard, 30-20. But for the first time all
season, the Golden Flashes saw some brilliance out of the backfield.
Running back Nick Holley showed he can be the lead back Kent State coaches
hoped he would in the absence of Trayion Durham, gaining 95 yards on 12
carries with a touchdown. The 171 rushing yards in the game for Kent State
boosted the team’s rushing ypg stat to 85.1, which means there’s still plenty
of question marks about how the ground attack will handle upcoming contests.
Holley has an even 400 rushing yards this season, and the touchdown against
Toledo was his first on the year.
Colin Reardon saw the most action under center last week, throwing for 96
yards with an interception on 23 pass attempts. But it was quarterback Nathan
Strock that completed two touchdowns in the contest. Neither has helped Kent
State put up many points this season, considering the team averages just 14.8
ppg (ranked third-to-last in the FBS this season). Reardon has thrown for nine
touchdowns and 11 interceptions in nine games.
It’s been a struggle for the Golden Flashes defensively this year as well,
allowing at least 30 points to five teams over the course of their schedule.
In nine games played, Kent State has surrendered an average of 29.4 ppg and
425.8 offensive ypg to opponents. The Golden Flashes are also giving up a 43.8
percent third-down conversion rate to opponents, allowing them to extend
Nate Holley leads the team with 110 tackles this season, adding a team high-
tying two forced fumbles to his resume. Kent State has been absolutely dismal
at getting to opposing quarterbacks this season, having only registered four
sacks through nine games played, which is tied with Navy for the lowest total
in the FBS. Elcee Refuge leads the Golden Flashes with four tackles for loss
on the year.
Bowling Green was up to its old tricks in the team’s win over Akron in the
middle of last week, gaining 219 yards in the contest through the rushing
attack. Travis Greene was ineffective in the contest, so the Falcons turned to
Andre Givens, who scampered for 101 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries.
Running backs for Bowling Green have scored 22 times on the ground this
season, led by Greene’s eight rushing scores. Givens has accounted for six
touchdowns, and Fred Coppet has added five more. The Falcons are rushing for
an average of 171.3 ypg, and are scoring 32.9 ppg, which should be easily
enough to bury Kent State this weekend en route to the MAC East Division
Quarterback James Knapke has been solid as a passer this season, completing
58.3 percent of his attempts for 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He was
forced into the spotlight after original starter Matt Johnson went down for
the season in Week 1, and Knapke has led Bowling Green to playoff eligibility.
The team’s defense has been inconsistent at times this season, and is allowing
opponents to score an average of 33.6 ppg. But against Akron, which received
starting quarterback Kyle Pohl back from injury, the defense managed to hold
the Zips to 10 points one week after surrendering 26 to Western Michigan.
Linebacker Gabe Martin leads the team in tackles with 77 on the year, followed
by Brian Sutton’s 69 stops. Lineman Bryan Thomas has notched a team-high 10.5
tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks for the Falcons, while defensive back Nick
Johnson has claimed four interceptions. Both will be put to good use against a
struggling Kent State offense.
Playing this game at home is simply an added boost for Bowling Green, which
will be looking to solidify a spot in the MAC title game. The Falcons possess
too much offense for the Golden Flashes, who will struggle to keep up. Like
last week’s matchup against Toledo, this one could get out of hand for Kent
State in a hurry.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Bowling Green 32, Kent State 14