The MAC East has been a bit of a mess this season, as all six teams enter the week with losing overall records. The RedHawks have shown some life since being blown out 76-5 against Ohio State on Sept. 21. Miami (Ohio) has won two of their last three games to open MAC play with a 2-1 record, which ties them with Kent State and Ohio for first place in the MAC East. Kent State will try to bounce back from its first conference defeat of the season after losing to the Bobcats last week. Can the Golden Flashes get back on the winning track at home versus Miami (Ohio) on Saturday?
Thomas earns MAC Special Teams Player of the WeekThe RedHawks bounced back from their first MAC loss of the season last week, holding off Northern Illinois for a 27-24 victory. Brett Gabbert threw for 273 yards and a score while adding a team-high 42 rushing yards on the day and Jaylon Bester ran for two touchdowns to lead Miami (Ohio) to victory. Miami (Ohio) took control of the game when it turned a 10-0 second-quarter deficit into a 14-10 lead by scoring on their final possession of the first half and opening the third quarter with a 90-yard touchdown drive. Sophomore wide receiver Jaylen Walker finished with seven catches for a career-high 138 yards in the win.
The RedHawks are hoping to get another receiver back in the fold this week, which should help Miami (Ohio) improve offensively. Junior Jack Sorenson, the RedHawks’ leading receiver going into the season, has missed the previous three games due to injury, but might be back this week. Sorenson had 742 yards and two touchdowns last season but enters with only 103 yards and a score so far this year.
The special teams unit also came up big last week for the RedHawks and has been a major part of their success this season. Miami’s kick returner, Maurice Thomas, was named the MAC Special Teams Player of the Week for his contributions last weekend. Thomas finished with 148 return yards on the day and had an 86-yard kick return following Northern Illinois’ first touchdown of the day.
Miami (Ohio) comes in scoring 22.4 points and allowing 35.4 points per game, but those numbers have been buoyed by a 76-5 drubbing against Ohio State. The RedHawks have surrendered 27.3 points per game in three MAC contests putting together strong defensive efforts in their two conference wins against Northern Illinois and Buffalo. They have given up 403.7 yards of total offense per game, including 192.1 yards per game on the ground so far this season.
Crum has career-day in loss to OhioKent dropped to 2-1 in MACtion after coming up short in a 45-38 defeat against the in-state rival Ohio Bobcats. Junior quarterback Dustin Crum had his best game of the season against Ohio, finishing with 262 passing yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for a team-high 96 yards, but the Golden Flashes couldn’t get enough stops on defense. Kent State surrendered 571 yards and 12.2 yards per pass attempt on defense in the loss.
QB Spotlight WK4⬇️— QB Spotlight (@QBspotlight) September 26, 2019
*Dustin Crum: Kent St
*26/31, 310yds passing,3tds, 65yds rushing in their 62-20 W against Bowling Green
*Good rhythm throw from gun, 3 step & hitch & let it loose. Perfect ball for a TD⬇️@HustleBelt @KSURadio #FlashFast pic.twitter.com/7ZLPnCjWnM
Crum, who took over the starting job from junior Woody Barrett after the opening week of the season, has been brilliant in his first year as a full-time starter. The junior quarterback has thrown for 1,136 yards, 11 touchdowns and zero interceptions in seven games (six starts). He’s also second on the team in rushing with 310 yards and one score on the ground. Crum’s career-day may have cemented his role as the team’s starting quarterback but his play has been offset by the Golden Flashes’ own inability to stop the run.
In the team’s four losses, they have been gashed for 5.8 yards per carry and they’ve allowed 4.9 yards per carry for the season. Kent State ranks 129th of 130 FBS teams in rushing defense, allowing 245.1 rushing yards per contest and they’ve given up 20 rushing touchdowns through seven contests. Overall, Kent State is allowing 32.0 points and 466.3 yards of total offense per game.
- Golden Flashes are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 conference games.
- Golden Flashes are 5-0 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
- Golden Flashes are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games after allowing more than 40 points in their previous game.