What happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object?

Lance Lysowski

The Flashes traveled to Boston College and faced the 13th best running back in the nation on Sept. 11.

Kent State held junior running back Montel Harris to 80 yards on 29 carries.

The Flashes lined up against NFL prospect Evan Royster at Penn State the following week.

Kent State gave him no room to run.

Royster, who has rushed for 600 yards this season, carried the ball 11 times against the Flashes for 38 yards.

The Flashes’ defense leads the nation in run defense, allowing 2.05 yards per carry and 66 yards per game.

Kent State will face the third-best running offense in the conference Saturday when the first-place Temple Owls travel to Dix Stadium.

The Owls’ backfield is led by sophomore running back Bernard Pierce. Pierce, who was given a Heisman Trophy campaign in the off-season, is second on the Owls with 644 rushing yards and leads the team with nine touchdowns.

Sophomore running back Matt Brown ranks first on the team with 682 yards and second behind Pierce with six touchdowns.

Temple coach Al Golden said Kent State’s defense deserves the No. 1 ranking, and coaches around the conference are not surprised by their play.

“This is the best defense we’ve seen all year, including Penn State,” Golden said. “They are excellent in pass defense, and obviously rush defense goes without mention. They’re getting to the quarterback at an unusual clip.”

“Again, if you were in this conference, you could see this coming. You could see this building. They’ve been a good defense. Their strength, we’re going to have to counter.”

Complementing the six seniors on defense is freshman defensive lineman Roosevelt Nix. Nix is tied for eighth in the nation with 8.5 sacks and second with four forced fumbles.

With 14.5 tackles for loss (sixth in the nation), the freshman heads a group that leads the nation with 74 tackles for loss.

For the second consecutive week, Kent State is playing against its opponent’s strength. Last Saturday, the Flashes faced the fourth-best rushing offense in the Mid-American Conference in Ball State.

Kent State shut them down.

The Cardinals’ running backs combined for 72 yards on 31 carries for an average of 2.3 yards per carry.

Kent State defensive coordinator Pete Rekstis said his defensive group, which is led by six seniors in the starting eleven, is a pleasure to coach and they will be ready for the tough task of facing Temple’s talented backfield.

“This has been a special group,” Rekstis said. “They have been fantastic to work for, work with. For four years most of these guys have been here, and they’ve just gotten better each year they’ve come along. Each week possess’ a different challenge. This week, their running backs are as good as any we’ve seen. I think our guys are excited for the challenge each week; they’ve done a great job preparing for that challenge. I don’t expect this week to be any different.”

If the Flashes are going to position themselves for a MAC title run with a win against Temple, they will have to go through Pierce and Brown.

“This is the first time we’ve played meaningful games in November and it’s huge,” senior safety Brian Lainhart said. “I’m excited. Hopefully the fans are excited and they come out and support us. It’s going to be exciting on Saturday. I can’t wait.”

Contact Lance Lysowski at

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