Defense looks to contain Temple’s running attack

Nick Walton

Football team hopes to bounce back from loss in Wagon Wheel game

Credit: DKS Editors

Despite being unable to stop Akron’s lethargic rushing offense in its last game, the Kent State football team’s defense is confident they can stop Temple’s powerful running attack.

The Flashes (5-5, 4-2 MAC) are drawing on last season’s 41-38 win over the Owls for an idea to stop Temple’s rushing offense, ranked second in the Mid-American Conference.

“Physically we matched up well with Temple last year, and they’re a big, strong physical football team,” Kent State coach Doug Martin said. “It was a high scoring game, but I think our players can take something from that, and we got a lot to play for so there shouldn’t be any shortage of emotion.”

Against Temple last season, Kent State held the Owls to 72 rushing yards and forced three turnovers. The Flashes won the game on a 26-yard field goal by senior kicker Nate Reed.

The Flashes will have a tougher challenge this season as the emergence of freshman running back Bernard Pierce has greatly improved last season’s lowest ranked rushing offense. Along with leading the conference, Pierce is also fourth in the nation in rushing with 1308 yards.

After allowing Akron to rush for 168 yards and an average of 4.2 yards per carry, senior linebacker Anthony Mirando said the defense is ready to face Temple’s offense.

“Everyone’s questioning our run defense right now,” Mirando said. “We just got to come out and smash them in the mouth and prove them all wrong.”

Temple’s efficient rushing attack opens up the passing game, allowing the team to capitalize on play action passes. Martin said the players have to play disciplined and not over commit to the running game.



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Along with their rushing attack, the Owls disguise plays offensively by changing formations before the ball is snapped. Martin said the team will have to be mentally focused to deal with the uncertainty of Temple’s offense.

“They create a lot of problems because of the shifts and they play a lot of bunch sets and create extra gaps,” Martin said. “Your defensive players just have to be not only physically ready to play but mentally (ready) because you can’t prepare them for everything they’re going to see. They got to make some checks on their own in the game.”

After their bye week, the Flashes are currently in fourth place in the MAC East division and have to win out to keep their championship aspirations alive. Despite this outlook, Martin said he is treating this game like every other game this season.

“This team has been fun to coach because they just enjoy playing,” Martin said. “Once we get to the game, it gets kicked off, they’ll have a good time playing football.”

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