Saturday the Kent State Golden Flashes (1-1, 0-1 MAC), fresh off a a beating from in-conference foe Bowling Green, take on their biggest challenge yet as they head to 'Death Valley' to take on the No. 8 LSU Tigers (2-0).
It's unlikely that Kent State will challenge LSU at all in this one (some outlets have Kent has a 36 point underdog), but the team still could use a strong showing to rebuild faith in a fan base that has taken on some doubt after the 41-22 drubbing a week ago. A key factor for the golden Flashes will be whether or not they can get back to its running game roots against a defense that has been unusually porous this season. Currently the Tigers are allowing an average of 182 rushing yards a game, which provides the Golden Flashes with a ray of hope in a game that is unlikely to have many.
So far this season they've struggled to run the ball effectively. They've managed just 152 yards per game, down drastically from their average of 225 yards per game in 2012. A big reason for that drop off has been the loss of offensive weapon Dri Archer, who was knocked out of the first game of the season with an ankle injury and didn't play this past weekend. Now Archer appears ready to return to action, and could be the key to keeping this game from turning into a blowout.
But Archer can't do it alone. Colin Reardon, who has looked promising in his first two games as the team's starting quarterback, will need to limit mistakes and create opportunities to get the ball in Archer's hands. It's a tough test for a redshirt freshman heading into one of the more hostile home field advantages in college sports. LSU hasn't lost at home since 2009 when the Tigers fell to the No. 1 team in the country. It's been even longer since they've lost a non-conference game at home.
Kent State isn't going to win this one. But keeping it within three scores would be a victory within its own right.
The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff and can be seen on ESPNU and the WatchESPN app.