The Kent State Golden Flashes (2-5, 1-3 MAC) head down south to take on the South Alabama Jaguars (2-3, 1-1 Sun Belt) Saturday for their fifth road game in six games. During that stretch Kent State has went to Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, home to Ohio twice and now Alabama. Along the way the Golden Flashes have struggled to keep the wheels moving. Early injuries to Dri Archer, Roosevelt Nix, and Luke Wollet left them team without three of their best players (or reduced versions of them) for much of the first few weeks of the year. Now, they could be without redshirt starting quarterback Colin Reardon, who suffered a bad ankle sprain this past weekend in a loss to Ball State.
If Reardon cant go, Kent State will turn to senior transfer David Fisher to help steer the team out of its most recent losing streak. But against a Jaguars' squad that is much better than their 2-3 record suggests, Fisher and the Flashes could be in for more than they can handle.
South Alabama runs a no-huddle spread offense that recently has been utilizing two quarterbacks. Two weeks ago against Troy, Ross Metheny and Brandon Bridge both saw significant laying time at quarterback, each throwing for more than 200 yards, and a touchdown. Oh, and both can move. Together the QB duo combined for 109 rushing yards on 21 carries and a touchdown. Coming off of a bye week, the Jags' should be willing to pull out all the stops against a Kent State defense that could be without Nix, who is still struggling with back pain.
Kent State has allowed more than 1,000 offensive yards in its past two contests, while South Alabama managed 630 yards of total offense in its last game. The Jaguars can score too. They're averaging 32 points-per-game over their last four games. But for as good as their offense is, their defense has struggled. South Alabama allows an average of 30 points-per-game.
But, while the Jaguars have allowed plenty of points, they've been stout on defense, holding opponents to under 150 yards rushing a game. They've also only allowed five rushing touchdowns this season...that's total. Bad news for a team that will be without its starting quarterback, and who's rushing offense has struggled to get going this year.
Through seven games Kent State has only had a 100-yard rusher once. Dri Archer and Trayion Durham have been shells of their 2012 selves as both have struggled to get things going behind a new look offensive line. Saturday against South Alabama, if those two can't get going on the ground, it could be disastrous for the Flashes with Fisher making his first start of the season.
Kent State will need to limit turnovers, and get the ground game going early to keep the Jaguars' offense off the field as much as possible and have a fighting chance. If it can't do those things, the Golden Flashes could head home with no shot at salvaging a winning season of this year's rocky start.
The game is scheduled for a 3 p.m. kickoff and can be streamed live on ESPN3.