Football takes on No. 1 defending national champions Saturday. Enough said.

Jacob Hansen, Reporter

Coach Sean Lewis said his 1-2 record program will face “the greatest collection of talent that has ever been assembled on a football team” Saturday.

The Flashes play at No. 1 Georgia, last season’s NCAA national champions.

“When you’re gonna go play a team that is the reigning national champs and that has 67 scholarship athletes that were either former 4-star or 5-star athletes, there is no looking forward to that,” Lewis said. “We’re going to prepare accordingly. Given the opportunities that we have and the moments that are in front of us — and we only get 12 of these games a year — I cherish each and every single one of them.”

Kent State saw its first victory of the season last week against non-FBS Long Island University, winning 63-10. The team started its season against two Power-5 conference schools prior to the Bulldogs – now No. 18 Washington University and now No. 6 Oklahoma University. The Flashes lost both games by at least 25 points

Georgia, now 3-0, comes off a 48-7 victory over South Carolina, where it had 547 yards of total offense and three interceptions.

The Flashes will take on the nation’s top scoring defense. Over their three games this year, the Bulldogs have only allowed 10 points in total. Georgia features a well-balanced defense, ranking 13th in the nation in total yards allowed with 249 yards per game.

But Lewis is not fazed.

“We know that points are going to be at a premium,” Lewis said. “We know that possessions are going to be limited, so we have to be efficient, and we have to do a good job of staying on schedule.”

Junior running back Kendall Milton leads the Bulldogs in rushing this year with 167 rushing yards.

This season, Kent State’s defense has given up an average of 420.7 yards per game.

In their two Power-5 matchups, the Flashes surrendered 955 total yards and 10 touchdowns. Their defense will be tested by Georgia’s offense – which totaled 130 yards this season.

Georgia’s total offense ranks sixth in the nation, averaging 523.33 yards per game. It passed for 1,130 yards, which is third best in the nation.

At six-foot-four-inches and 230 pounds, sophomore tight end Brock Bowers is the Bulldogs best receiver. He leads the game with 216 receiving yards, ninth-best nationally, and two touchdowns.

“He moves like a wide receiver with his athletic ability and his ability to get in and out of cuts,” Lewis said. “His catch radius is phenomenal, and his run after catch is truly unique for an individual his size.”

Georgia’s quarterback Stetson Bennett joined the program as a walk-on in 2017. The now-senior then transferred to Jones County Community College before transferring back to Georgia in 2020.

Lewis noticed Bennett’s skills during his time in junior college.

“They obviously saw something in Stetson Bennett and so did we,” Lewis said. “We offered Stetson a scholarship when he was at that junior college, and he opted to go back to Georgia, so we know how talented he is.”

Bennett is currently ranked 11th nationally in passing yards with 952. He has the highest completion rate in Southeastern Conference Football with 73.86 percent and the highest quarterback rating in the SEC with 183.49 rating.

KSU’s quarterback Collin Schlee hasn’t shown much on the passing side, only averaging 169.3 passing yards a game. But the redshirt junior ranks second in the MAC in QB efficiency. His best numbers come from his first collegiate home start last week – passing for 199 yards on 10-12 passing and two touchdowns.

Kent State has had success in the run game this year, averaging a MAC-best 221 yards per game. This comes off the heels of a 353 rushing yard stint last week.

It’ll be a challenge to repeat this performance against a very tough defensive line, something Lewis is aware of.

“It is textbook in terms of [Georgia’s] communication, the way they handle trades, shifts and motions so that people are not out of place,” Lewis said. “They are very technical and very disciplined and masters of their craft.”

The Flashes will play at noon Saturday in Athens, Georgia. This concludes their non-conference play.

“We’ve got an excellent challenge ahead of us,” Lewis said. “We’re looking forward to getting on the road on Friday and are going to test ourselves once again before we jump into conference play.”

Jacob Hansen is a reporter. Contact him at [email protected].