Kent State will play three Power 5 programs for third straight season, schedule only five home games


Kent State coach Sean Lewis accepts the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl trophy after the Flashes beat Utah State 51-41 on Dec 19. 2019.

Ian Kreider Sports reporter

The confetti from Kent State’s first bowl win in program history has finally settled. The Flashes announced their full 2020 schedule Wednesday afternoon.

The Flashes will open with four of their first five games on the road. They play three Power 5 programs in their first four games — Penn State, Kentucky and Alabama. Both Penn State and Alabama finished 11-2 last season, while Kentucky went 8-5. 

The only game breaking up the Power 5 games comes against Kennesaw State on Sept. 12. In 2019, the Flashes beat them 26-23 in overtime.

Kent State has not beaten a Power 5 opponent since 2007 when they beat Iowa State 23-14. The Flashes were outscored 133-23 by Power 5 opponents Arizona State, Auburn and Wisconsin last season.

Kent State begins Mid-American Conference play at Northern Illinois on Oct. 3. The Flashes and Huskies have not played since Oct. 7, 2017. Northern Illinois won 24-3.

Kent State will play its second home game of the season against Akron on Oct. 10. The Flashes beat the Zips 26-3 in 2019, which snapped a four-game losing streak. 

Kent State’s next game comes at Buffalo on Oct. 17. The Flashes 24-point comeback win against the Bulls on Nov. 14, 2019 gave Kent State the momentum needed to finish the season with a four-game winning streak, including its first bowl win in program history. 

The following week, the Flashes return to Dix Stadium for a game against Western Michigan. The last time they played each other the Broncos won 48-20 on Nov. 8, 2017.

Kent State will play at Bowling Green on Nov. 4, at home against Ohio on Nov. 11 and at Miami on Nov. 17. The Flashes were 1-2 against those teams in 2019, with the lone win coming in dominating fashion against Bowling Green. Kent State lost to Ohio and Miami by a combined 14 points. 

The Flashes will end their regular season playing Central Michigan at home on Nov. 24. Kent State’s last game against the Chippewas came on Nov. 14, 2017. The Flashes lost 42-23. 

Kent State will play five home games for the fourth season in a row. The Flashes turned a tough 2019 schedule into its first bowl win in program history. We will see if 2020 garners similar results.

Contact Ian Kreider at [email protected].