Kent State takes on top-ranked Alabama


09/22/16 Alabama football

Brandon Busby

Kent State (1-2) is looking to win their first road game Saturday against No.1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide.

Amid questions of whether or not the football team was ready, both head coach Paul Haynes and sophomore kicker Shane Hynes showed no signs of nervousness.

“We treat it just like any other game and try to be 1-0 at the end of the week,” Hynes said.

Kent State lost their first two games of the season, falling to Pennsylvania State University (33-13) and then to North Carolina A&T (39-36) in four overtimes. The first win of the season came during their second home game, defeating Monmouth University 27-7.

Kent State’s 235 rushing yards against Monmouth were the most they’ve had in the last 11 games. The defense also held Monmouth to 67 yards, the least by any opponent Kent State has played in the last 13 games.

Redshirt freshman Mylik Mitchell continues to improve as Kent State’s quarterback, and is expected to play Saturday against Alabama. Mitchell has played in all three games so far this season, throwing for 353 yards and five touchdowns.

“By every game and every rep (he takes), he’s getting better,” Haynes said of Mitchell’s progression.

“It’s not about who you’re playing; there’s only one way to play the game,” Haynes said when asked about how to prepare for a matchup against such a high caliber team. “You don’t play a certain way one week because you’re playing these guys and a different way because you’re playing these guys.”

Alabama’s head coach, Nick Saban, attended Kent State during the May 4 shootings. Graduating in 1972, Saban is a decorated veteran of the Kent State football team. One of his largest achievements during the time he spent as a Flash was bringing a MAC title to a school that hadn’t seen one —and still hasn’t, since he won it in 1972.

Haynes knows full well the capabilities of both Saban and his national championship winning team. Alabama won the title last season and is currently at the No.1 spot in the Associated Press poll, and has been the favorite in every game so far, with Kent State being no exception.

The game begins Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, at noon.

Brandon Busby is a sports reporter, contact him at [email protected].