|Falcons face tough test at Kent State (9-6-13)|
|Written by By JACK CARLE, Sentinel Sports Editor|
|Friday, 06 September 2013 08:05|
Bowling Green has quickly filed away its 34-7 season-opening win over Tulsa.
Now the task at hand for the football Falcons is Saturday’s game at Kent State, the defending Mid-American Conference East champion. Kickoff is at noon in Dix Stadium.
The Golden Flashes are also 1-0 after beating Liberty, 17-10 in their opener. Last season Kent State finished 11-3 overall and 8-0 in the MAC, while playing in its first bowl game in 40 years.
‘‘Our goals are to win the MAC, and to get to Detroit (for the MAC championship game). In order for that to happen, we have to take care of business this week,’’ BG head coach Dave Clawson said. ‘‘If it doesn’t happen, we won’t get to Detroit and we won’t be ranked.’’
Dri Archer, Kent State’s standout running back, saw limited playing time against Liberty because of an ankle injury. Archer rushed for 1,429 yards and had a hand in 24 touchdowns in 2012.
Clawson said the Falcons are preparing as if Archer will play Saturday.
‘‘They know what’s at stake in this game, and I’m sure if they can have him healthy for one week in the next three it’s going to be this game,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘I would be very surprised if he’s not out there in practice before the game, running around.’’
Traylon Durham is also a running threat for the Golden Flashes. He rushed 21 times for 92 yards in the win over Liberty, and had 1,316 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns a year ago.
‘‘Durham is an absolute beast; he’s a big-time back,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘If you talk about a change of pace, Kent has it as good as anyone in the conference with those two (Archer and Durham).’’
Kent State is playing with a new quarterback in redshirt freshman Colin Reardon. Reardon was 21-of-28 passing for 194 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions, in the win over Liberty. He also rushed for 38 yards and was not sacked.
‘‘He has brought a lot of energy to their offense,’’ Clawson said about Reardon. ‘‘They are willing to throw the ball more with him than they have in the past.’’
Tyshon Goode and Chris Humphrey are KSU’s top receiving threats. Goode returns after sitting out the 2012 season with a hamstring injury suffered on the second day of fall camp. Goode is third on KSU’s all-time list with 144 catches, fourth with 1,889 yards, and tied for fifth with 12 touchdowns.
Paul Haynes, in his first season as KSU’s head coach, said Bowling Green’s veteran defense will provide a challenge for his offense.
‘‘They are a veteran group with a lot of seniors and juniors who have played a lot of football for them,’’ Haynes said. ‘‘They’ve been in the system, they know the system and it kind of shows on film. There are not a lot of mistakes, not a lot of open guys, not a lot of open gaps.’’
Defensively, the Golden Flashes are solid, especially with Roosevelt Nix. The senior defensive tackle has been one of the top players in the MAC since his freshman year.
Nix is second among active Football Bowl Subdivision players in career tackles for loss (52.0), fifth in forced fumbles (10), and 14th in sacks (20.5).
‘‘He’s played a lot of football around here. He knows the ins-and outs, and he brings a lot to the table as far as his football intelligence,’’ Haynes said. ‘‘We lean on him a lot for his leadership, off the field and in the meetings. He’s pretty valuable to this football team.’’
Middle linebacker Matt Dellinger, safety Luke Wollet and cornerback Darius Polk are also top-notch defenders for the Golden Flashes.
Haynes is hoping his team can clean up its penalties, and take care of the football.
Kent State had nine penalties for 79 yards in the win over Liberty.
‘‘It’s a lot of fundamentals and technique stuff,’’ Haynes said.
‘‘The thing we talk about with them is — the ball is the program. When you have the ball, you have the program in your hand. You have to protect the football,’’ Haynes added about limiting turnovers.
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