Kent State Golden Flashes (0-0 (0-0 MAC)
By JUSTIN HOLBROCK
Ohio has lost four of its last five games against the Kent State Golden Flashes, but it looks to turn the tables this week with a defense that returns eight starters. The Bobcats’ offense will be tested with a new quarterback in Derrius Vick at the helm. Kent State will likely give RB Trayion Durham plenty of opportunities. Which team can start its year with a big MAC victory?
Ohio has not won a game at Dix Stadium since 2008. Opening on the road against a team that has had its number in the last half decade will prove as a serious test for a young Ohio squad that returns just four starters on offense.
Vick does not need a huge game to prove himself as the team’s rightful No. 1 quarterback. As long as the Cats’ defense steps up, and it should, Vick should not feel pressured into thinking that this is his game to win or lose. Keep an eye, however, on whether or not head coach Frank Solich decides to use a two-quarterback system with J.D. Sprague sharing playing time with Vick under center.
This game will likely come down to Ohio’s experienced defense facing off against a Kent State offense that returns quarterback Colin Reardon and running back Trayion Durham. Reardon finished last season by completing 59 percent of his passes for nearly 2,000 yards while Durham accumulated 766 yards rushing. The duo combined for 18 touchdowns.
“In terms of opening up against Kent State on the road and with our first three games on the road I know this—no matter when your road games are played, if you’re going to be a great football team, you better be a great road team,” Solich said.
“This will be an extremely important game for both teams,” Solich said. “They’re in our division so right out of the box this is a very, very meaningful game in terms of the conference race.”
Head Coach Frank Solich told the Ohio Bobcats Official Athletic Site Monday that quarterback Derrius Vick edged out J.D. Sprague for the starting spot but said, “Both will play. Both will have opportunities. Both need to play at a very high level for us to be successful and I believe they both will.”
NOTES - Ohio Bobcats
Last Year: After starting off the 2013 season strong with a 6-2 record including three MAC wins, the Bobcats fell apart.
· In the final month of the regular season, Ohio lost four of its last five games
· This included a 49-0 blowout loss to the Bowling Green Falcons in Week 10
· The Cats’ said goodbye to their winningest senior class in school history, 43 wins over four years, but only after a disappointing 37-20 loss to the East Carolina Pirates in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl
· Quarterback Tyler Tettleton finished his career with 27 school records and 10,027 yards of total offense
· The Bobcats recorded 36 sacks in 2013, which ranks as second all-time in school history
· As a true freshman, Tarell Basham recorded a team-high nine sacks
· Place kicker Josiah Yazdani made 100 percent of his field goal attempts (12-for-12) in the 2013 regular season
NOTES - Kent State Golden Flashes
· Durham rushed 182 times for 766 yards with six touchdowns last year
· Wide receiver Chris Humphrey pulled down 51 receptions for 613 yards with three TDs in 2013.
· Linebacker Ben Russell recorded 88 tackles, with 7.5 TFL and 3.0 sacks last year.
· Defensive lineman Tarell Bashall had 31 stops with 9.5 TFL and 7.5 sacks.
· DB Devin Bass recorded 41 tackles and had two INTs last year.
· The Golden Flashes are coming off a disappointing 4-8 campaign but return 14 starters (6 on offense and 8 on defense).
· KSU can enjoy home cooking for the first two weeks of its 2014 campaign. After Ohio, the Flashes host South Alabama.