Kent State Q&A

Friday, October 12, 2012

The fellows over at Hustle Belt contacted me to do a Q&A. Here are their answers to my questions. My A's to their Q's can be found here.

Right now the MAC looks good at the top of both divisions - how many MAC teams could you see going to bowls this year?

Hustle Belt: This is really nothing new for the MAC. It's been true for a while now that NIU and Toledo duke it out in the West, and that Ohio shows up strong under Frank Solich. I fully expect to see all three of those teams in bowls this year. Kent is the surprise participant, riding the wave that their defense creates as usual - but this year with the twist of Dri Archer's speed and vision keeping teams surprised and off-balance. I would like to see them make it to a bowl, but anything beyond those four dreams would be a reach right now given the inconsistent (and/or flat-out poor) play the rest of the conference has shown thusfar.

In the near future the Big East will take on a whole new identity. Boise State, Houston, Memphis, Navy, San Diego State, and SMU will be joining Rutgers, Cincinnati, UConn, Louisville, USF and Temple. How do you think the MAC stacks up against the new Big East?

  Hustle Belt: Well, first I would like to point out that it was nice of Temple to go crawling back to the Big East and nestle back in at the bottom where they belong. That said, I don't see this as any stronger a conference than the MAC (which says a lot, I think, about the quality of teams that have left the Big East conference - and how desperately they scrambled to fill the gaps). You have a distinct upper half (Boise, SDSU, Louisville, Cincinnati, and Rutgers) and then a bunch of teams that are inconsistent, unproven, or just plain bad (yes you, Memphis). I also much prefer the MAC and its cozy geographic alignment to that giant cluster**** you just typed out. I can't wait to hear the horror stories the first time Temple plays Boise on the road.

Looking at a 4-1 Kent State team, they've beaten Towson, taken care of some MAC teams and dropped a game at Kentucky. Kent doesn't really jump out at me in any major statistical categories. What stands out about this Kent State squad?

Hustle Belt: You must look closer my friend. They may not be elite on the ground, but they are close - they rank, in terms of yardage, 30th nationally in rush offense and 44th in rush defense. Dri Archer is the main reason for that, but perhaps that's enough. Kent in the past has often been a great defensive team that just couldn't create enough offense to win, and Archer seems (at least so far) to have gone a long way in correcting that malady.

Kent's all-around weapon Dri Archer can do it all. He can catch, he can run, he's a dangerous kick returner; who else does Kent State have that can make some big plays.

Hustle Belt: That defense that has gotten them by before continues to be strong, and that's largely because of defensive playmakers like defensive lineman Roosevelt Nix and linebacker C.J. Maluulu, both very athletic and very capable of changing the game on any one play. That said, the one to watch out for is our kicker, Freddy Cortez. Since the start of the 2010 season, he is 24-for-27 from inside of 40 yards (the kind of near-automatic production you want to rely on as a team) and he's only 8-for-19 from beyond 40, but he has a dangerously strong leg that can make those middle distances an opportunity for points instead of punts,

 Kent State is doing a lot of things right - the Flashes are pounding the ball, they're taking care of the football and they have shown the ability to score late when they need it. What will Kent State need to do to beat Army?

Hustle Belt: Well, I don't know a lot about Army (even though I'm a veteran. Don't give me crap, you West-Pointyheads). But any fool who even follows them loosely knows that they run the ball. And run, and run, and run. I would say that Kent needs to be wary of their own weak secondary (ranked 88th defending the pass) but that's hard to make into a key focal point when your opponent only passes the ball seven times a game. You have a Kent team that, in terms of both rush offense and defense, may not be elite but is definitely good and productive. Army, on the other hand, is ranked 116th when it comes to defending the run.

   So as long as the Flashes can stick to a run-to-set-up-the-pass offensive plan, and not get so keyed in on stopping the run and crowding the box that they get soft to being beaten over the top, they should be just fine. Team A can run and pass the ball reasonably well, and can also defend both reasonably well. Team B runs the ball so well they never need to pass - but they also can't stop anyone else from running the ball either (or passing it, really, for that matter). Team B - that's yours - will probably go down, and it will be close, but not as close as previous ones. Kent 31, Army 21


Previews of Kent State

There are a few Army/Kent game previews up:

 After Action has a preview

A storied rivalry: The teams have played twice. Army’s 2-0, with then-sophomore QB Trent Steelman leading the Black Knights to their most recent win over the Golden Flashes, a 45-28 shootout in Ohio in 2010.
While the Military Times certainly not a mainstream media outlet, I like After Actions's stuff.

Sal has a preview.

Kent State
Last season: 5-7
Coach: Darrell Hazell (9-8, second season)
Key players: QB Spencer Keith; RB Trayion Durham; RB Dri Archer; DT Roosevelt Nix; LB C.J. Maluulu; SS Luke Wollet.
Did you know: Hazell coached wide receivers and tight ends at West Point from 1997-98 under Bob Sutton.
 And Sports Chat Place has a preview.

Local military personnel: David Carducci wants to give you tickets to the game - hurry up and tweet to @CarducciKSU. First tweet gets 4.

Ronald Mergenthaler writes up Kent vs. Army and Elton Alexander gives us the plain deal on Kent.

The preseason perception was that Kent State's defense would anchor the team, but as the 2012 campaign nears the midway point for the Golden Flashes, the offense has been steady while the defense has played hot and cold.

I'll be back with more later on.


Looking at Kent

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Rich Ellerson's presser quotes regarding the Kent State game are available. He talks a bit about Army's youthful defense.

"We have four freshmen who are playing a significant role on the defensive side of the ball. They will improve by leaps and bounds as the game slows down for them. They're going to be a little behind the curve and are just a shadow of what they'll be physically as time goes on. The game itself is slowing down for them. They're getting used to being out there and seeing the ups and downs, the swings and speed that take place in a college football game. All of those things are becoming routine for them. They're now better able to focus on what really is challenging about this next opponent and what they do."

Army/Kent State game notes are up.

Kent State WR Tyshon Goode has been out all year for the Flashes, it seems unlikely that he will start on Sat. but we're still waiting for the final word on his condition.

Other pieces that Kent State will bring to the game are:

(Junior defensive end) "Richard Gray has a little bit of an ankle (injury), but he’ll be fine for Saturday.”   Sophomore linebacker Anthony Parker and senior defensive back Norman Wolfe, who suffered a broken arm during the Sept. 8 game at Kentucky, are also expected to play against Army.


Boo Corrigan Remains Army A.D.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Boston College hired Brad Bates (video) ending speculation that Boo Corrigan would leave Army to take the job.

I am just fine with this.


More BC Postgame

Isn't it funny how perceptions change?

Whatever that team Boston College is doing, sign them to a long term home&home. That would be worth it for the competitive game alone, but a bus trip road game and a presumed sellout at home. Boo, make that happen. It's looking more and more like Boo Corrigan will be Boston College's AD, so there should be a clear mutual interest in the game. We'll see if it happens.  

Just a few things to round out Saturday's game. Ken Kraetzer has a few postgame blurbs from players there's some pretty good stuff there. Also, Kraetzer's West Point Football Report can be listened to online over at

Trent Steelman was named the independent offensive player of the week.

The senior passed Troy Crawford on Army’s all-time list for rushing touchdowns (36) by a quarterback Saturday. Steelman also has an academy, quarterback-record 2,503 rushing yards.

You can relive it all through Danny Wild's Army/BC photo blog.

Sal also has a post about Trent's rushing numbers to date. If you ask me Trent is Army's offensive player of the decade. 

Here's a look at my Blogpoll Top 25 ballot.


Army 1-4

Sunday, October 7, 2012

As an army fan, BC merely represents another BCS team than Army has knocked off under R.E.

Being a Pitt alum, watching Boston College's steady decline delights and thrills me. The BC fans are beginning to 'Spaz out', but I don't think it's really as bad for them as they think it is.

What an unbelievable comeback - I'm pretty sure my neighbors across the street thought I cut off my thumb as Steelman was crossing the goal line in the final minute. Such was the nature of my screams. The defense was still spotty, but considering what they were up against I think they did an alright job.

I'm pretty sure Jared Hassin found his way onto the field with about 8 minutes left in the game. #7 was for sure in on a few defensive plays and a look at the roster says it could only be Hassin. Nice to see him earn his way onto the field, but for as many guys as this team is losing on defense it will only be a matter of time before 11 guys are playing both ways.

Trent Steelman is an absolute monster. OK, so his passing is hilarious - throwing up low ducks down the field - say what you will about his handle on the ball - when you posess the ball for 38 minutes per game and have your fingerprints all over the ball (and the scoresheet) you're going to lose a couple.

- Army reclaims the lead in rush yards per game (397.2/per) 

- Army has also up jumped to second-to last in passing yards per game and presumably leads the nation in time of possession per game as well.

Hopefully I'll have more later.

Here is your BC/Army story and stats.



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