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2016 MAC Football Preview: Western Michigan vs. Kent State

Is 10-0 a possibility for the Broncos in Kent?

NCAA Football: Western Michigan at Akron Jason Mowry-USA TODAY Sports

The Western Michigan Broncos #14 (9-0) will waltz into Dix Stadium to take on the Kent State Golden Flashes (3-6) on Tuesday night. Broncos are coming off a big 52-20 win against Ball State, and the Golden Flashes are coming off a close win against Central Michigan 27-24. Western Michigan will look to continue their win streak, while Kent State will look to start a win streak of their own.

According to Jordan Strack on Twitter, the Golden Flashes will be without their star defensive back Nate Holley against the Broncos after being suspended indefinitely. Holley was charged with first degree felony kidnapping on Tuesday, which leaves the team no choice but to suspend him. This is a big loss for the Golden Flashes, Holley currently leads the MAC in tackles with 111 in nine games. The two-time First Team All-Mid-American Conference player, will be missing a very important game as Kent State tries to beat the unbeaten Broncos.

The Golden Flashes will have the other Holley brother ready to play on Tuesday night, quarterback Nick Holley. One of the bright spot’s in Kent State’s dark season. Holley has been an offensive machine this season, especially on the ground. Nick Holley has rushed 160 times for 775 yards and nine touchdowns in five starts for Kent State. Holley has not been great throwing the ball, but not terrible either. He has only thrown two interceptions in five games, but has also only thrown for 668 yards and three touchdowns.

His legs are what makes Nick Holley so special. He will have to be really special on Tuesday against a Broncos defense that has allowed a mere 19.3 points per game to opponents this year.

With Nate Holley out, the Golden Flashes will have their hands full with Western Michigan’s three headed monster, quarterback Zach Terrell, wide receiver Corey Davis and running back Jarvion Franklin. Davis leads the MAC in receiving yards (1,011), while Franklin sits in second in the MAC in rushing yards (1,018). Not to mention, Terrell’s 23 passing touchdowns and only ONE interception in nine starts for Western Michigan.

The Golden Flashes have been great on defense this year, allowing the second least yards in the MAC per game with 350.7. But, without defensive leader Nate Holley their confidence and skill level will be a lot lower on defense.

For the Golden Flashes to stop Corey Davis and Jarvion Franklin, they are going to need to pressure the quarterback and get to the backfield fast. Kent State defensive end Terrance Waugh has done just that all season long. Waugh is currently second in the MAC with eight sacks and has been a force to reckon with for offensive lineman. Terrell has only been sacked 11 times this season, so it will be interesting to see if Waugh will be able to corral Terrell behind the line of scrimmage come Tuesday.

The last time the Broncos and Golden Flashes played each other was in 2013. The Flashes emerged victorious winning 32-14 in Michigan. Kent State had help from current Buffalo Bills player Dri Archer in that game, who is a former MAC Special Teams Player of the Year.

2016 is a different year. The Broncos are undefeated and the Golden Flashes are doing whatever they can to salvage some late season wins. Kent State will have a true test to their perseverance at home as the Western Michigan Broncos march in looking to go 10-0 for the first time in their team’s history.