KSU Game 2: Previewing the Golden Flashes

16 Sep

At 6:10 in Bill Snyder Family Stadium tomorrow, the Wildcats will take on the Golden Flashes. It will be Kent State’s first ever visit to Manhattan. While the team began its season 0-2, it also turned Alabama over five times during its season opener, and it has not begun a season 0-3 since 2000.

Ignore for a minute the fact that Kent State is part of the Mid-American Conference (MAC). Believe it or not, this team has one of the elite defenses in the country. Last year, it ranked 10th overall, allowing on average only 306 yards of offense per game. Even after the departure of the defensive coordinator and four players to the NFL, the Golden Flashes got five turnovers off of Alabama and held Louisiana (their second opponent) to only 179 yards of offense. That’s the fifth time in a span of 14 games in which Kent State has held an opponent to under 200 total yards of offense.

I don’t care who you are. That’s impressive.

The big name on the Kent State defense, of course, is Roosevelt Nix, who last year was the first true freshman to ever be named MAC Defensive Player of the Year. A consensus Freshman All-American, he began his sophomore year with a sack and two tackles for loss against the Crimson Tide. Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder certainly appreciated what he saw of Nix’s play.

“I think he’s as fine a player as you’ll find,” Snyder said. “He’s an undersized defensive back. He creates a lot of havoc for everybody, did for Alabama. He’s a very talented young player, and so young.”

Unfortunately for Kent State, it seems that as good as its defense is … that’s how bad its offense is. In its first two games, it has amassed just 19 points. Of course, give Alabama its due; a first game against the Crimson Tide isn’t helping anyone’s averages. Snyder pointed out that the Kent State quarterback, Spencer Keith, has struggled and is currently a 44 percent thrower, but he also mentioned that the guy is going into his third year as a starter. That confidence of his coaches and teammates comes from the fact that he throws really well when he throws well, and he isn’t immobile, Snyder said.

Kent State has some quality offensive players, like receivers Tyshon Goode and Sam Kirkland, but what Snyder said would be occupying his mind is what he hasn’t seen from the team to this point in the season.

“You don’t see a lot of gadgetry, so you have to be concerned, ‘Are the reverses going to come into play? Halfback passes? And all the gadget-type stuff, is that going to come into play?’ and that’s something you’ve got to be prepared for,” Snyder said. “I’m pretty confident we’ll see an improved offensive football team. To what degree and how they become that, I don’t know.”

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