Dix Stadium -- Kent, OH
By EVAN MEYER
The Western Michigan Broncos are off to their best start in school history. Sporting a perfect 9-0 record through nine games, WMU is ranked in both major college football polls, and was the highest non-automatic qualifier in the first College Football Playoff Poll released last week.
On Tuesday night, as voting results pile up, the Broncos hope to add to their pile of wins when they face the Kent State Golden Flashes. It is the second trip of 2016 to northeast Ohio for WMU, which crushed Akron 41-0 back on Oct. 15.
Kent State, meanwhile, needs . . .
KENT STATE GOLDEN FLASHES (3-6, 2-3 MAC):
LAST TIME OUT: The Golden Flashes defeated the Central Michigan Chippewas, 27-24, coming back from a 14-point deficit late in the third quarter. PK Shane Hynes kicked a 35-yard field goal as time expired to give KSU its first win in Mount Pleasant since 1998.
QB Nick Holley again was the engine of the Flashes offense as he accounted for 246 total yards (144 coming on the ground).
Sixty eight of his total came on a touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to tie the game.
Holley completed 10-of-18 passes for 102 yards and a score to Ernest Calhoun. The defense, meanwhile was led by Nick’s twin brother Nate, who had 10 tackles in the contest -- all of them solos.
KSU SEASON TO DATE: The Golden Flashes finished their non-conference schedule with a 1-3 record. The lone win came at home against Monmouth, while the losses were at Penn State, at defending national champion Alabama, and to North Carolina A&T at home in four overtimes (the longest game in school history).
KSU opened MAC play with a heartbreaking home loss to arch-rival Akron, Since then, the Flashes have gone 2-2 with losses at Miami and home to Ohio. The wins were at Buffalo and last Saturday at CMU.
OFFENSE: KSU is averaging 22 points & 308 yards per game
RUSHING: Nick Holley 160 carries - 775 yards nine touchdown
PASSING: Nick Holley 55-106-2, 668 yards, three touchdowns
RECEIVING: Justin Rankin 24 receptions - 301 yards – one touchdown
DEFENSE: The Flashes are allowing 26 points and 350.7 yards per game
TOTAL TACKLES: Nate Holley 80-31-111
TACKLES FOR LOSS: Terance Waugh 12-74 yards
SACKS: Waugh 8-58 yards
INTERCEPTIONS: Jerrell Foster 3-33
PUNTING: Derek Adams 54 – 39.9 avg. per kick
PLACE KICKING: Shane Hynes 15-20 FG / 21-21 PAT
KICK RETURNS: Kavious Price 8-20.4 yds per return
PUNT RETURNS: Zaquon Tyson 10-71
KSU NOTES: PK Shayne Hynes’ 43-yard field goal in the first quarter was the longest of his career…Nick Holley’s 68-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter was the longest by the Flashes offense so far this season and helped produce his fourth 100-yard rushing game of 2016…Hynes’ game-winning FG was the first since since 2003 vs. Youngstown State in which the Flashes won the game with no time remaining
THE SERIES: Tuesday's contest is the 51st in a series that began in 1951 with the Broncos holding a 33-20-1 advantage. KSU has won three of the last four games in the series, including the last encounter in 2013 at Waldo Stadium in Kalamazoo, 32-14. The Broncos last win in Kent came in 2000, 42-0
LAST TIME OUT: The Broncos traveled to Muncie, Indiana last Wednesday night and improved their record to 9-0 on the season with a 52-20 win over the Ball State Cardinals. WMU opened a 21-7 first quarter lead and never looked back.
Once again, the Broncos offense was hitting at peak performance, totaling 553 yards. They were led by senior QB Zac Terrell, who completed 23-of-34 passes for 367 yards and three touchdowns. Fellow senior, WR Corey Davis, had 12 receptions for 272 yards and three scores, while junior Jarvion Franklin led the rushing attack with 108 yards on 11 carries and a pair of touchdowns.
The WMU defense was led by SS Justin Tranquill and junior LB Asantay Brown each with 12 total tackles each.
WMU SEASON TO DATE: The Broncos opened the 2016 season at Northwestern and came away with a last minute 22-21 win over the Wildcats. After a home opening rout of North Carolina Central, they traveled to Illinois, defeating the Fighting Illini. Western finished the non-conference schedule with a home win over Georgia State.
Western Michigan has been a juggernaut in MAC play. The most serious challenge for an entire game was by surprising Eastern Michigan, who fell by just 14 points
OFFENSE: WMU is averaging 45.2 points and 507.8 yards per game
RUSHING: Jarvion Franklin 174 carries – 1018 yards nine touchdowns
PASSING: Zach Terrell 171-243-1 2362 yds. 23 touchdowns
RECEIVING: Corey Davis 61 receptions - 1011 yards 14 TD
DEFENSE: The Broncos are allowing 15.3 points and 369 yards per game
TACKLES: Robert Spillane (40-39-79)
TACKLES FOR LOSSES: Keion Adams 12-51 yds.
SACKS: Adams 5.5-35
INTERCEPTIONS: Justin Ferguson & Darious Phillips with three
PUNTING: James Coleman 16 -41.3 yds. per kick
PLACE KICKING: Butch Hampton 77 pts (8-12 FG/53-54 PAT)
KICK RETURNS: Darious Phillips 8-23 yds. per return
PUNT RETURNS: Phillips 10-5.5 yds. Per return
WMU NOTES: At 9-0 the Broncos have their best record after nine games in their history…WMU was 20th in the first College Football Playoff poll -- the highest ranked non-AQ qualifier amongst the ‘Group of Five’…WMU is 16-2 in its last 18 games dating back to last season…The 11-game winning streak is tied with Washington for the second longest current streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision…With his three touchdowns against BSU, WR Corey Davis has 47 career touchdown receptions, tied for first overall in MAC history…RB Jarvion Franklin’s two rushing touchdowns against the Cardinals gives him 37 for his career.