Since 2000, the Golden Flashes have been beyond bad in the MAC. They are currently 44-84 overall since then, with a MAC record of 31-49—which is only better than Buffalo and Eastern Michigan.
In the past five years Kent State is 17-23 which is not too shabby, since they were worse in the 80s and 90s. The past three seasons Kent State has made some strides, improving their MAC record to 11-13. This is the same program who had not one, not two, but three Pro Bowlers back in 2008, when James Harrison (2008 DPOY), Josh Cribbs and Antonio Gates all made the team.
The last bowl game for Kent State was way back in 1972, the Tangerine Bowl against Tampa. Wait, what!? It has been a difficult three decades, as the last winning season was back in 2001.
Guess who the QB was on the team that season? If you guessed Josh Cribbs then you are correct, my friend.
Also, don’t forget Patriots WR Julian Edelman was another QB for the Golden Flashes back in 2006, when the team went 6-6.
Taking over at QB for this season will be Spencer Keith, who did not avoid the sophomore slump that many collegiate athletes suffer through. Keith was not a prime-time prospect but does have his tailback, Jacquise Terry, returning from a season in which he ran for 542 yards and seven TD’s.
Sam Kirkland and Tyshon Goode are both back as they continue to grow and develop into All-MAC wideouts. Goode hauled in 59 passes for 743 yards and five TD’s.
Chris Anzevino and Kent Cleveland are their best linemen and hopefully get help from the rest of the line. Four linemen return, and although the rushing offense was 100th averaging only 113 YPG, this OL is one of the tops in the MAC. There is also plenty of optimism that those numbers will go up with their fairly soft conference schedule.
Hazell may have nine starters back, but they only have five back on defense. But it features the premier lineman in the MAC, Roosevelt Nix.
Nix is an NFL prospect at 6’0, 240 lbs, because of his quickness on the sound of the snap. The soon-to-be sophomore is coming off a freshmen campaign where he notched eight QB hurries, 10 sacks and 10 tackles for losses.
To put in perspective how dominating Nix’s freshmen season was, check this stat out. Hall of Fame LB Jack Lambert was the last Golden Flash to win the DPOY award back in 1972. Nix also became the very first freshmen to ever win the DPOY award since the MAC’s conference alignment began 45 years ago.
The LB core just feasts off of Nix’s play, and the secondary is the one rewarded the most. Norman Wolfe and Josh Pleasant both have the capability to make All-MAC. The pass defense only allowed 209 YPG, which ranked 47th one season ago.
The non-conference schedule is brutal. It involves a trip to Tuscaloosa and another to Manhattan against Kansas State, which will be followed up two weeks later with Northern Illinois and Ohio (both on the road).
Miami is the following week for homecoming, but a bye week followed by Bowling Green and Central Michigan should give first year coach Darrell Hazell an opportunity to go bowling.
Predicted Finish: 4-8, 2-6
Predicted Bowl: None
Predicted order of finish in MAC: Seventh overall, fourth in East Division