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Kent State Golden Flashes vs. Monmouth Hawks Football Preview

Normally, this was a tune-up game. So far in 2016, however, nothing’s come easy for the Flashes.

Kent State v Penn State Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images

There’s a few things I should put a few things here at the jump before I go any further:

  • Yes, this is Kent State’s second FCS opponent.
  • Yes, Monmouth has a better record than Kent State.
  • Yes, this is the same Monmouth University that has the best bench in college basketball.
  • No, this will not be an easy game for Kent State.

Kent State (0-2) has a lot to prove after a 4OT loss to Tarik Cohen and the NC A&T Aggies last weekend. The defense looked good, but finally succumbed to wear late in the game, while the offense started and stopped throughout the game, struggling to find an identity at multiple points throughout the game.

Monmouth (2-0) had a convincing win over Delaware State last week and will be on the road for the third straight time in this matchup against Kent State. Monmouth, a member of the Big South Conference in football, will be playing their second game against an FBS opponent. Last year, the Hawks lost to Central Michigan in their first-ever game against a higher-tier opponent.

The Hawks will look to pull off the upset in this game, which would probably be the biggest win in the program’s young history; MU began their program in 1993.

The MU passing attack is led by Cody Williams at QB, who has passed for 325 yards and a touchdown this year at a 64 percent completion rating. Monmouth has three receivers above 74 yards, with the brunt of the passing load on the shoulders of receiver Reggie White Jr., who has 174 receiving yards on 14 receptions.

The offense is led by their ground game, as three backs have over 100 yards, including Lavon Chaney (165 yards and two touchdowns), Zach Welch (111 yards and a touchdown) and Ed Royds (102 yards and two touchdowns).

Mike Basile paces the Hawks defense with 17 tackles and two blocked kicks, while Darnell Leslie is an all-around player to watch for on the line with nine tackles, a tackle for loss, a sack and a fumble recovery. Marcus Leslie and Kamau Dumas each have an interception on the young season.

Kent State will most likely trot out Mylik Mitchell at QB after his game against NC A&T, as George Bollas has been relegated to backup duty after an ineffective start vs. Penn State and Pat Agner is still injured.

Justin Rankin should be seeing the majority at the ball at running back, as he looked great late against the Aggies last week. Both Rankin and Mitchell will have to provide major sparks to the offense as the Flashes only had 275 yards of total offense.

The Kent State defense will also be looking to recover from an uncharacteristically sloppy game, where they allowed 204 yards to Tariq Cohen and 407 offensive yards overall.

The game can be caught on ESPN3 at 3:30 p.m. EST. The game is Hall of Fame Day in Kent, OH and is a scheduled Gold Out.