Here is what I’m NOT worried about as we face the largest college in the Akron-Canton-Cleveland metro area:
1) What is a “Golden Flash”? No one seems to know. Once they changed from the “silver foxes” in the 1920’s, they were then forced to depict a Golden Flash in some sort of physical form. It has been portrayed in turn by a dog, a western-type person on horseback, a dog again, a character from a comic strip (“Grog”), a variety of people wearing and/or holding lightning bolts, and then a live golden eagle. Which was hit by a truck. So now it’s a person inside an eagle costume. And one that has invested in modern orthodonture.
2) You knew I was going to mix in something about Brock Bowers here, didn’t you? Let’s just say Kent St. doesn’t utilize that position as much as some schools. Matter of fact, they list the same number of TE’s on their depth chart as the number of receptions for the position this season, which also is the number of touchdowns Brock Bowers had all by himself at South Carolina (3).
3) Stetson Bennett is licking his chops. There’s no shame in Kent State’s #123 ranking in pass defense, having faced 2 ranked Power 5 teams in the first 2 weeks of the season (go get that money). But they’ve given up 18 pass plays of 15 or more yards, and 13 of those were on first down. They are allowing a 73% completion percentage in the first half of games. The opposing QB rating inside the red zone is 179.41 (SBIV is currently at 183.48 for comparison).
And what has Todd Monken been calling so far in 2022? More passes than runs, a lot of throwing on 1st down, attacking defenses relentlessly in the first half, and throwing when inside the red zone. I don’t see them slowing down the Georgia offense whatsoever.
Now forgive me, as I was weaned at the nipple of Larry Munson’s scratch. So here’s what does worry me about trying to beat Pulses of Portage County:
1) We are going to face a truly mobile quarterback. The Kent State quarterback is the 2nd leading rusher on the team. Collin Schlee is big, fast, wiggly, elusive, and just a great athlete. They run an up-tempo offense with a lot of zone reads – and actually call it “Flash Fast”. And being heavy on the run, the QB gets a lot of yards on keepers, scripted draws, and even escaping the pocket. It does remind one of Josh Heupel’s scheme in both tempo, zone read, and deep vertical shots down the sidelines. So this will probably be better than any practice squad guys trying to mimic the offense coming from Knoxville and a dual threat behind center.
2) And it ain’t just the QB that runs. The Flashes have a 3 headed monster of a backfield. Junior Marquez Cooper is the bell cow type, taking about half the carries (17+ a game), and is frequently spelled by frosh Gavin Garcia who is more of a scatback. Then to keep you on your toes, they also use Bryan Bradford for a change of pace. The Junior brings the thunder for the Flashes, as he’s 6 feet and 250 lbs.
While they’re averaging over 220 yards on the ground this season, they’ve managed right at 150 against two Power 5 opponents (more on that below). But churned out 353 yards against… checks notes…Long Island University last weekend. Still, they did hand it off 45 times a game versus big time competition. They are not afraid to run the ball.
3) MACtion! And these are the defending MAC East champs. Not to mention they won’t be awed by playing a big Power 5 school or a rowdy SEC stadium. I don’t follow the school, but it’s obvious they are trying to build something in Kent.
Head Coach Sean Lewis arrived in 2018 looking to turn the doormat of a football program into a contender. By 2020 (somewhat skewed because of the COVID schedules), the Flashes were leading FBS in points per game. They’re still among the nation’s leaders in plays per game, and it has brought excitement to the fanbase. Plus, they’ve scheduled three Power 5 games each year under Lewis (other than 2020), facing several Big 10 teams, some Pac-12, and even the likes of Ole Miss, Texas A&M, and Auburn. They’ve also already tilted against ranked Washington and Oklahoma teams this season. So while Sanford Stadium awash in red is intimidating, these Golden Flashes are pretty much used to this type of atmosphere. We’re not winning this one just getting off the bus.
Call me crazy, just don’t call me late for dinner. Sound off in the comments below what worries you about the Bulldogs of Georgia versus the Golden Flashes of Kent State. And as always…