#102 Kent State Football 2014 Preview

Kent State Golden Flashes

Overall Rank: #102
#6 Mid-American

Kent State Team Page#102 Kent State Football 2014 PreviewBuy Kent State Football Tickets

Following their impressive 2012 campaign, Kent State took a massive step back in 2013 finishing at just 4-8. First year head coach Paul Haynes could not recover from a tough start. The bad news is that the start of this year may not be much better. The Golden Flashes begin the season with a game against rival Ohio and face Ohio State and Virginia in September. If Kent State can get past Ohio, which they seem to do on a regular basis, they could ride that momentum to bowl eligibility.

2013 Record: (4-8, 3-5)
2013 Bowl: None
Coach: Paul Haynes (4-8 at Kent State, 4-8 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Brian Rock
Defensive Coordinator: Brian George

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Trayion Durham, RB, 766 yards
Passing: Colin Reardon, QB, 1,957 yards
Receiving: Chris Humphrey, WR, 613 yards
Tackles: Matt Dellinger, LB, 77
Sacks: Nate Vance, DE, 3.5
Interceptions: Malcolm Pannell, CB, 3

Other Key Returnees: TE Casey Pierce, WR Earnest Calhoun, K/P Anthony Melchiori, S Jordan Italiano

Key Losses: RB Dri Archer, WR Tyson Goode, S Luke Wollet, CB Darius Polk, DT Roosevelt Nix, DE Mark Fackler

The Flashes have some potential on defense. The secondary will have to lead the way even without leader Luke Wollet. Safety Jordan Italiano tallied 76 tackles and is the likely candidate to step into Wollet’s old spot in the 4-2-5 scheme. Nate Holly and Keenan Stalls each started a handful of games last year and the hope is those two can develop into consistent players around Italiano. Senior Malcolm Pannell is the most experienced corner and will be joined by fellow senior Dylan Farrington. Linebacker Matt Dellinger is the team’s top returning tackler. He will man the middle of the defense and be joined by DeVante’ Strickland and Darius Redmond, who combined for 93 tackles in 2013. The problem on defense is up front where just about everybody is gone, including tackle Roosevelt Nix. Nix easily led the team with 13.0 tackles-for-loss and was a massive force in the trenches. Getting to the quarterback consistently was an issue last season and will be even more difficult this time around. But if Kent State can find a few new playmakers up front, the defense will at least be serviceable.

Kent State relies heavily on the ground game and it remains to be seen how effective it can be without Dri Archer. He was so explosive and quick that it opened up the rest of the offense. Even with Archer the offense only scored 20.8 points per game last year and often looked like they could never move the ball. The pressure is on Trayion Durham to emerge as a back that can move the chains and occasionally break a big play in order to open up the passing attack. Durham did rush for 795 yards and six scores, so there is potential. If the ground game does keep things moving, it will make life much easier for second year starting quarterback Colin Reardon. The 6-1 sophomore has potential after throwing for 1,957 yards and a dozen touchdowns as a freshman, but it all depends on how much time he has in the pocket.

The Bottom Line:
If all goes well, Kent State can take a step forward this year, but another 4-8 season seems more likely. The home slate, featuring Ohio, South Alabama, Umass, Army, Toledo and Akron, is littered with winnable games. But those were the type of games the Golden Flashes lost last year. It may not be fair to put so much on the opening game of the season, but beating the Bobcats, again, could be just what this program needs to defend their home turf and compete for a bowl spot.

Projected Bowl: None

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 182.4 (48th in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 186.5 (100, 10)
Total Offense: 368.9 (88, 7)
Scoring Offense: 20.8 (104, 8)
Rushing Defense: 198.8 (94, 8)
Pass Defense: 211.1 (27, 4)
Total Defense: 409.9 (70, 6)
Scoring Defense: 26.9 (67, 5)
Turnover Margin: -0.3 (86, 9)
Sacks:  1.75 (82, 9)
Sacks Allowed: 1.17 (14, 3)


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