Kent State Last Year 4-8
3-5 MAC East (4th)
Head Coach: Paul Haynes
2014 MAC Media Preseason (5th MAC East)
Kent State's offense under coordinator Brian Rock averaged 369 yards and 20.8 points per game in 2013, a bit of a dropoff considering the dynamic impact of running back Dri Archer in 2012.
The Flashes bring back five starters for 2014, including QB Colin Reardon. The sophomore definitely experienced some growing pains a season ago, but by the end of 2013 he was in charge.
Reardon completed 59 percent of his passes for 1,957 yards with 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions. In addition, Reardon showed he can execute the read-option as he gained 336 yards a season ago
>>> The receivers are led by senior WR Chris Humphrey, who led the team with 51 catches for 613 yards and three scores. Look for junior WR Josh Boyle, who had 19 catches, and senior TE Casey Pearce (33 receptions a year ago) to make significant contributions this season.
>>> Entering fall camp, the offensive line had just two starters returning, SeniorTerrell Johnson on the left and junior Jason Bitsko on the right. However, Bitsko was tragically found dead in his room Wednesday morning, Aug. 20.
Rebuilding the line will say much about how well the Flashes can compete in 2014.
The men who made the Flashes defense one of the most feared in the MAC two seasons ago were gone in 2013, and it showed. KSU’s defense gave up 409 yards and 26.9 points per game, so coordinator Brian George definitely has his work cut out for him this time around. The Flashes bring back five starters, and the returnees all saw significant action in 2013..
The line will be led by juniors Nate Terhune and Chris Fairchild, along with senior Nate Vance. Terhune had two sacks and five tackles for loss a season ago, but his claim to fame was his touchdown run of a fumble at Ohio on national television. Vance led the team in sacks with 3.5.
Look for sophomore Terrance Waugh to fill some big shoes for the departed Roosevelt Nix.
>>>The linebacking corps is led by senior Devante Strickland, who had 53 stops a season ago, and junior Matt Dellinger, who led the defense in tackles (77).. Look for Darius Redmond to make big contributions this season.
>>>The secondary will be led by senior CB Dylan Farrington and senior SS Jordan Italiano. Two transfers who could come in and play significant foles are sophomore Nick Cuthbert from Georgia Tech and Najee Murray from Ohio State
The Flashes will have both kicking specialsts returning in 2014. Anthony Melchiori.averaged 44.5 yards per punt last season before being injured. Brad Miller made just 1-of-4 field goals but was perfect 9-for-9 on PATs.
The return game needs to get better and look for Ernest Calhoun to step into the spot that Archer made such a threat a year ago.
The Flashes must find their A-game early with a big MAC matchup on the opening weekend. Ohio University comes to Dix Stadium, followed by South Alabama.
Kent State then hits the road for three games, with the biggest being September 13th against Ohio State at the horseshoe in Columbus. There is also a trip to Northern Illinois. October brings home games against Massachusetts and Army before a trip to Miami. The schedule ends with road tilts at Bowling Green and Buffalo, while Toledo and Akron are at home.
When Archer went down with a leg injury in the opening game against Liberty last year, nobody knew how much time he would miss and how much he would be missed. The Flashes dropped eight of their next nine games before finishing the season with wins over Miami and Ohio.
Not all that much is expected from the Flashes in 2014. However if they get off to a fast start, especially with the opening two games at home, there is enough to build upon.