Kent State football battles No. 24 ranked Toledo


Antwan Dixon runs for a 47-yard touchdown on the Flashes’ opening drive of the Kent State vs Marshall game on Sept. 26, 2015. Kent State lost in double overtime, 36-29.

Stephen Means

Coming off its second-straight homecoming victory over Miami (OH), Kent State (2-3, 1-0 MAC) will be on the road this week to take on Toledo (4-0, 1-0 MAC).

“(Toledo is a) very tough football team that’s playing at a very high level,” said head coach Paul Haynes. “But our guys will do a good job of getting prepared and ready to go.”

Toledo is coming off a 24-10 win over Ball State.

The Rockets come into this game ranked twenty-fourth in the country and are the only undefeated team left in the MAC.

“The ranking really doesn’t matter,” Haynes said. “ As far as you watching them take (on) and look at the talent they have and the program they have. It’s good for Toledo, it’s good for this league to have someone ranked and notice the body of work this league has done.”

Since 2012, Toledo is 17-3 at home and has never lost more than once a season at the Glass Bowl.

Junior running back Kareem Hunt leads the Rockets with 129 yards on 24 carries. Hunt was an All-MAC selection last season after rushing for 1,631 yards.

“They’ve got weapons all over the place,” Haynes said. “They spread you out so much. That’s why their run game is so well, because they spread you out so much. If you sit there and load the box they do a good job of getting to the guys on the outside who can do some things.”

Sophomore Terry Swanson is another threat for the Rockets coming off a 139 yard rushing game.

“You almost have to choose your poison a lot of times on what you want to do,” Haynes said. “If you single them up out on the edges, they have guts.”

Rockets’ senior quarterback Phillip Ely has tallied 847 yards on 73 completions, with his best game coming against Arkansas State, where he threw for 308 yards. Sophomore Cody Thompson is their top big-play receiver, averaging 19.9 yards per reception.

The Flashes’ junior running back Nate Holley is expected to be out again this Saturday.

This is the Flashes’ second conference game of the year and the first on the road.

“It’s a MAC opponent,” Haynes said. “You sit there and you talk about the goals that you want for the year and for you to accomplish those goals you have to beat MAC opponents.”

Kick-off is Saturday at 3 p.m. in Toledo.

Stephen Means is a sports reporter for The Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].