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Campus community shares predictions for upcoming football season

Brady Hamilton
Flash the Eagle leads the charge as the Kent State cheerleaders and football team take to the field during the game against Ball State on Nov. 02, 2022.

Kent State’s football season begins Thursday evening, with the team’s first regular season game at FBC Mortgage Stadium in Orlando against the University of Central Florida.

Prior to kickoff at 7 p.m., campus community members had opinions, thoughts and predictions about this upcoming season of Flashes football. 

The team finished the 2022 season with a record of 5-7 under former head coach Sean Lewis. This season, the team welcomed new head coach Kenni Burns.

Many students had opinions on the new coach, like Rew Nesler, a freshman aeronautics professional pilot major and defensive tackle on the football team, who said he has enjoyed Burns’ take on coaching. 

“Coach Burns is great,” Nesler said. “He is really really emphasizing this family mentality with our team, he’s always pushing us to strain more. I think that is a really refreshing, new take at Kent State football.” 

In addition to a new coach, the team acquired new players for the season, including new starting quarterback, Michael Alaimo, a transfer from Purdue. 

“I think that we are really defensively sound, and I think that we have a lot of transfers who are bringing in a whole new look for Kent State football,” Nesler said.

Others did not know as much about the new roster or coach, like Dylan Esterle, a freshman interior design major.

“I do not know about the new coach but since I am a freshman, I am going to say that the line-up is going to look a little bit better,” Esterle said. “I’ve seen some big dudes. I assume they are football players.”

In regard to the overall season, Kent State police lieutenant Jim Campbell seemed optimistic. 

“I do not follow sports a ton, but I think they are going to do better than they did last year,” Campbell said. 

John Nordholt, a senior psychology major, felt similarly, saying he believed the team will perform well this season. 

On the other hand, some did not share an optimistic view of the upcoming season. 

“I do not have too high of hopes,” Esterle said. “I have not heard too many good things about the football team.” 

Ryan McGee, a senior writer for ESPN, ranked the Golden Flashes No. 2 in the college football bottom ten. Additionally, ESPN analytics placed the Golden Flashes at an overall rank of 113 out of 133 teams.

Despite these rankings, many said they are excited to get out there this season and support the team.

For example, Alyssa Heers, a freshman fashion merchandising major, was a cheerleader in high school, which increased her enjoyment of the sport.

“I am so excited,” she said. “Football games are my thing, like I am so excited for it. Of course, I will be there.” 

Charlie Priester, a freshman exploratory major, felt similar excitement about attending the games. 

“I am looking forward to football games I can go to and actually show school spirit at,” Priester said. 

Mark Cox, a freshman aeronautical engineering major, said that even though he does not understand how the game of football works, he might attend some games. 

Lifetime, the Golden Flashes hold a record of two wins and one loss against the UCF. In a matchup analysis for the game, ESPN analytics stated UCF has a 90% chance of beating the Golden Flashes. Last season, the Knights finished with a 9-5 overall record.  

Despite these odds, Heers still felt the team would pull off a win at the first game.

“We are going to win – I would say it is going to be 21-10,” Heers said, while trying to do the math in her head on how to score a football game. 

Nesler felt the win will not be as easy, but it is still possible.

“I think that it is going to be a really tough game – it is going to be close,” Nesler said. “But I really hope that our boys can pull through, and I think that will make the difference.” 

Olivia Montgomery is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]

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About the Contributor
Olivia Montgomery, Reporter
Olivia is a sophomore journalism major with a minor in public relations. She is a general assignment reporter who enjoys writing about anything happening around campus. Contact her at [email protected]

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