For the first time since 2007, the Kent State Golden Flashes will travel to Lexington to face our beloved Kentucky Wildcats in Commonwealth Stadium. The Flashes (1-0) are coming off a sound victory against Towson University last Thursday night, and are looking to keep momentum going against Kentucky. With Kentucky coming off such a disappointing loss to in-state rival, Louisville, and Kent State having so much time to prepare for the Wildcats, there is a bit of apprehension going into the game. History says the Flashes won’t be much of a problem, though. Kent State hasn’t notched a victory against the Wildcats in their six previous meetings.
Why the game will be a blowout: The Wildcats are angry at themselves after last week’s performance against the Cardinals. Kentucky’s offense couldn’t hold on to the football in critical situations, and their defense couldn’t stop the run or defend the pass. Rick Minter and his troops have gotten back to basics in practice this week, and are ready to prove they aren’t going to be a complete liability throughout the season. QB Maxwell Smith is a different player from last year. He looks as if he’s more comfortable in the pocket and more of a leader to his teammates. After facing a pretty decent Louisville defense, Smith should be able to stuff the stat sheet against the Flashes. He showed in last week’s game that he has more of a grasp of the offense, and that should allow OC Randy Sanders to open up the playbook a little more this week.
Why the game will be close: Kent State’s defense forced six turnovers last week against Towson, and have been the strength of the team since head coach Darrell Hazell’s tenure began. If they are able to limit the Wildcats’ offense, and force them into turnovers, it could be a closer game than expected. The Flashes also have a pretty good one-two punch at tailback in Dri Archer and Trayion Durham. They combined for over 100 yards last week against Towson, and look to continue their success against a Kentucky’s defense that had tons of trouble limiting the run game against Louisville. If Kent State is able to run the ball effectively, control the clock, and keep Max Smith off the field, they could have a chance to sneak a victory.
Prediction: Kentucky is eager to prove they are a better football team than they showed last week. I think their match-up with MAC member, Kent State, is the perfect remedy to get back to feeling better about themselves. Smith has a great day, Kentucky’s running backs show deep they are after CoShik Williams, and the defense only allows one touchdown. Kentucky 34, Kent State 10.