What can we learn from a second straight matchup against FCS opposition for the Golden Flashes? Well here are five:
1. Plays to level of competition
Through the first three games of this young season, Kent State has played each opponent on their level. In the first two games, the score and outcome were very uncertain until late. In the big game against Penn State, the score was close until the fourth quarter when the Nittany Lions scored a late touchdown. Against North Carolina A&T, Kent State took the lead several separate times only the have an inferior opponent hang around. To a large extent, the same happened yesterday as Monmouth was allowed to hang around until the final Kent State touchdown put the game to rest.
This trend of playing to the level of the competition has to be viewed in a positive light going forward because of it likely that most, if not all, of the remaining schedule, will be favored against the Golden Flashes. With the exception of maybe Miami and Buffalo, every MAC team on the schedule has had a more impressive start to the season. What this could mean is that Kent State will come out firing against every conference foe, Alabama notwithstanding, and keep the game close and perhaps pull out a few late victories.
2. Coaches still don’t feel confident in letting Mylik Mitchell throw down field
Mitchell was awarded his second consecutive start Saturday and despite playing against another FCS opponent, the Kent State coaching staff didn’t call many downfield passing plays. Sure Mitchell was asked to throw far too much in the loss a week ago, but with a two score lead for much of the game, it would have been nice to see the playbook open up a bit.
Beyond the final touchdown pass to Nick Holley, Mitchell rarely threw beyond the bubble screen or slant range. This reliance on the running and short passing game can work against the likes of Monmouth who can be overwhelmed by the offensive line, but against the Western and Central Michigan’s of the world at least the threat of a downfield throw is needed.
3. The jet sweep game is strong
Perhaps the most exciting play each week for the Golden Flashes is when Kavious Price takes a jet sweep and sprints up the field. Due to his small frame and speed, you can’t help but have flashbacks of a young Dri Archer. The coaching staff must find a way to get the ball in Price’s hands more often as he has the speed to break a long play with every touch. For the season with limited touches, Price is averaging 13 yards per carry.
4. Juantez McRea is a player
Those that follow the MAC Crootin know full well how highly rated Juantez was coming out of high school. He had offers from multiple schools with a higher reputation than Kent State, but boy should Golden Flashes fans be glad he chose them.
Every game he has shown big play ability defensively breaking up passes or making big tackles in the backfield. Still only a sophomore, Juantez may be the next defensive star when Nate Holley graduates.
5. At least the kicker is pretty good
While the offense will certainly struggle to put points on the board, at least this season the kicking game won’t be the reason why. Shane Hynes has been excellent so far this season, nailing seven out of nine, with the only misses being a 54-yard last gasp kick against Penn State and a blocked kick against Monmouth. It is always comforting to know that if the offense can’t punch it in for a touchdown that you are in good hands because the kicker won’t miss.