Fundamentals in a Flash

Deanna Stevens


Credit: Steve Schirra

Kent State has not had a winning football team since 2001. Here are some basics fans need to know about the team and conference before this weekend’s Homecoming game.

Kent State

The Flashes have not lost a game in more than a month.

• After a heartbreaking 17-14 overtime loss to Army in early September, Kent State has won four consecutive games. That streak includes three Mid-American Conference victories against Miami, Bowling Green and Akron. Kent State’s latest victory was against Temple.

• The Flashes will play their first MAC West Division opponent of the season when they take on Toledo in the Homecoming game Saturday at 4 p.m.

Record Breaking: The four-game winning streak has led to some record book re-writing.

• Kent State’s 28-17 win over Temple on Saturday was the first time the Flashes beat a non-MAC Division IA team on the road since 1987.

• When the Flashes beat Miami on Sept. 16, it was just their fifth victory ever in Oxford, and the first since 1988.

• Before the 38-3 rout over the Falcons Sept. 23, the Flashes had dropped 18 consecutive games at Bowling Green. The last time the Flashes won in Bowling Green was in October of 1972; Kent State coach Doug Martin was 9 years old at the time.

• If the Flashes beat Toledo Saturday they will accomplish a feat no other Kent State football team has ever accomplished: start the season 4-0 in the MAC.

Familiar Faces: Martin is in his third season as the football coach at Kent State. He is also the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

• Senior wide receiver Najah Pruden is the No. 3 receiver in the nation in receiving yards with 566 and an average of 22.6 yards per catch this season. He has had a touchdown pass in the last four of five games.

• Led by senior linebacker Daniel Muir, the Kent State defense has held teams to 17 points or less in its last five games. With nine returning starters this season, including seniors Usama Young and Andre Kirkland, Kent State has the No. 8 rushing defense in the nation.

Newbies: Sophomore Julian Edelman has transitioned from the presumed back up quarterback to the leader of the ever-improving offense. The junior college transfer has been named the MAC East Offensive Player of the Week twice.

• Offensive line coach Terry Tilghman is leading the part of the team Martin calls most improved. Tilghman was the offensive line coach and recruiting coordinator for North Alabama before making his way to Kent State. He also played under Martin at East Carolina as an offensive lineman.

The Mid-American Conference

Preseason predictions prove why teams actually play.

Eastern Division: The Flashes (4-2, 3-0 MAC) lead the standings, after being picked to finish fifth this season.

• Akron (2-4, 0-2 MAC) is in fifth place, after being chosen to finish first.

• Ohio and Bowling Green are tied for second place with 3-3 overall records and 2-1 MAC records. The Bobcats, picked to finish No. 4, have earned some attention after a big 35-23 victory over Northern Illinois in the second week. The Falcons were picked to finish third this season.

• Miami was picked to finish second this season but is struggling to find its first win. Buffalo (1-4, 0-3 MAC) was picked to finish last and has already equaled last season’s win total.

Western Division: Central Michigan (3-3, 3-0), which was picked to finish fourth in the West leads the division. Last season it posted its first winning record since 1998.

• Northern Illinois (4-2, 3-1 MAC) is in second place and has Hiesman candidate Garrett Wolfe at runningback. Wolfe averages nearly 10 yards per carry and rushed for 171 against No. 1 Ohio State.

• Ball State (2-4, 2-1 MAC) is in third place after beating Buffalo 55-25 to end a four-game losing streak. The Cardinals were picked to finish No. 4 in the preseason.

• Western Michigan (3-2, 1-1 MAC) is proving last season’s turnaround was not a fluke.

• Toledo (2-4, 0-2 MAC) is the most dangerous team the Flashes will face so far, Martin said. Although the Rockets have a deceiving record, they did have a big 37-31 double overtime win against Kansas in week three. They were picked to finish No. 2 this season.

• Eastern Michigan (0-5, 0-2 MAC), like Buffalo, proved the MAC predictors correct, as it was chosen to finish sixth. The Chippewas are coming off a bye week after their 33-14 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette.

Contact Football reporter Deanna Stevens at [email protected].