Team faces tough schedule in 2005

Kali Price

Credit: Beth Rankin

After ending last season with a four-game winning streak, Kent State football preparing for the upcoming season with a few changes to their game plan.

The Flashes went 5-6 overall in the 2004 season and 4-4 in the Mid-American Conference, ending in fourth place in the MAC East Division.

Although the Flashes finished fourth in the MAC East, the team was ranked No. 1 in rushing and overall defense in the MAC.

The defense set a single-season record for sacks with 34. This season, the Flashes will be looking to senior linebacker Justin Parrish to lead the team’s defensive game. Parrish is returning for his final season with the Flashes as the one of the nation’s top returning sack leaders. He was selected to the Preseason All-MAC Second Team. Parrish is just two sacks shy of breaking the Kent State record with 16.5 career sacks.

Parrish also set a record Kent State single season record of 14 sacks and was ranked second in the MAC.

“I just started having fun,” Parrish said at the MAC football Media Day, July 26. “I wasn’t even aware that I broke the record for the season. It was just about stopping the run. I don’t let that get to my head, and I don’t really think about that.”

Much is expected out of the Flashes’ defense, but the team’s defensive strategy has not changed much since last season.

“Stopping the run is the big part of the defense,” said head coach Doug Martin.

The team’s offense has changed more than any other part of the team this season.

The Flashes welcome sophomore quarterback Michael Machen for the 2005 season.

Machen joins the Flashes as a junior college transfer. At Coffeyville Community College in Coffeyville, Kan., Machen led the team to a 10-2 record. Machen threw over 2,000 yards last season as well.

Machen is also a former minor league baseball player. He pitched for two years with the Atlanta Braves organization and one year with the Baltimore Orioles organization before his return to football.

Because of his years as a pitcher, Machen’s strong arm is a huge asset to the Flashes’ offense this season. Machen is expected to be a throwing quarterback, unlike Joshua Cribbs. The former quarterback led the team to the second-highest scoring offense record in Kent State history and was a top rushing quarterback in the MAC.

“The offense is the same, but tweaked a bit,” Martin said. “The running backs are becoming a lot more important. We’re going from one dynamic to the other. We’re going to be more heavy to the pass than we were last year.”

The Flashes also face a tough schedule.

The season opens in East Lansing, Mich. against top Big Ten team Michigan State on Sept. 3.

The team was ranked in a tie with rival Akron for fourth place in the MAC East by the MAC News Media Association Poll.

The Flashes face Bowling Green at home on Nov. 5.

“They do a great job offensively,” Martin said.

The Flashes end their season Thanksgiving Day in Akron to face the Zips. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

Contact general assignment reporter Kali Price at [email protected].