From the other campus: Undefeated Huskies look to continue success versus Kent State

Nick Shook

After a three-game road trip, Kent State returns home Saturday to host Northern Illinois in the Flashes’ homecoming game at Dix Stadium. Huskies quarterback Jordan Lynch leads an undefeated team that is fresh off a 55-24 drubbing of Purdue and now turns to Kent State in a rematch of the 2012 Mid-American Conference Championship Game.

Daily Kent Stater football reporter Nick Shook caught up with football writer Brian Thomas of the Northern Star to find out more about the 4-0 Huskies.

Nick Shook: Well, it sure looks like Northern Illinois picked up right where it left off. The Huskies have started 4-0 and look to be on a roll. What has played the biggest part in this quick start, despite a new head coach?

Brian Thomas: I don’t think their success is due to just one particular side of the ball. Quarterback Jordan Lynch and the offense have made it look easy at times this season. Lynch has gotten better throwing the football as he’s thrown for 869 yards and 10 touchdowns with just two interceptions. On the defensive side of the ball, they have been very opportunistic. They are leading the MAC in takeaways with 13, recording eight interceptions and five fumble recoveries.

NS: We all know about Lynch. Many at Kent State probably wish they could forget him, but he’s a unique player who leads this Huskies squad again. How have opposing teams attempted to defend him and the rest of the offense?

BT: Most teams have tried to take away Lynch’s run game and force him to pass. They may have slowed his run game down, but so far this season he has been picking apart defenses through the air. Lynch has also used the play-action pass to his advantage this season as teams haven’t been able to solve it.

NS: That 55-24 win over Purdue sure looked like a laugher, and although it isn’t entirely surprising, it still was over a Big Ten team. Is that a testament to just how good NIU is, or was it more of Purdue’s failures?

BT: Despite Purdue being a bottom-feeder in the Big Ten this season, I would say it showed how good the Huskies can be. NIU was able to force five turnovers in the game, while picking off the quarterback four times. All phases of the Huskies game were strong, as Tommy Lee Lewis returned a kickoff for a 99-yard touchdown. It was a strong game all around for the Huskies.

NS: The Huskies have given up some points, averaging 31.3 opposing points per game, good for 88th in the country. Is that the most glaring weakness on this team?

BT: People would say that the Huskies defense is the weakness of the team, but at times it is their strength. By leading the MAC in takeaways, the Huskies have the ability to turn the game around at any moment. Safeties Jimmie Ward and Dechane Durante have been ball hawks for the Huskies this season, making big play after big play.

NS: What’s the perception of Kent State in DeKalb?

BT: As far as Kent State goes, the Huskies, along with everyone else that plays Kent State, are keyed in on Dri Archer. With Archer’s ability to line up anywhere on the field at any time, he is a constant threat for a big play. Now that he is back healthy, Kent State becomes a dangerous team in MAC play the remainder of the season.

NS: Your prediction?

BT: My ultimate prediction is that the Huskies will come out victorious with a 10-point victory. They are on the road for the fourth time in their first five games and this is their first MAC game of the season. With it being a MAC game, it will be a dogfight till the end and will be a close game throughout.

Contact Nick Shook at [email protected].