On paper, Tuesday night’s first foray into weekday MACtion isn’t all that appetizing. On one side, you have a 1-7 (1-3 MAC) Bowling Green Falcons team struggling to find success, identity, and really anything positive as their not so fun 2017 continues. On the other side, you have the Kent State Golden Flashes, checking in at 2-6 (1-3 MAC), still able to salvage a .500 season, but needing a ton of help and a ton of upsets along the way.
If you were hoping for a raucous crowd, MAC Championship implications, and a nail-biter that’s appointment viewing, you may be disappointed should your television land on this one. However, it is Halloween night, and Kent State is hoping to avoid five straight losses to the Falcons.
When Kent State has the ball...
Don’t expect a throwback to MACtion days gone by of shootouts and blatant disregard for the opposing defensive coordinator. Kent State is a run-first offense, ranking 7th in the conference at just under 150 yards per game. The Flashes’ passing attack is virtually non-existent, last in the conference, and averages just over 100 yards per game. The Flashes also struggle with finding the end zone, scoring over 17 points just once this season (a 38-point outing against FCS Howard). When senior QB Nick Holley went down with a knee injury earlier this season, it was the beginning of the end for the Kent State offense.
Bowling Green’s defense, surrendering 37.8 points per game, is last in the Mid-American Conference, but the Falcons are capable of creating chaos and turnovers. They are 8th in the country in turnovers forced, and 3rd in the country in fumbles recovered. Kent State is +2 on the season in turnover margin, so opportunities if they present themselves have to be capitalized on for BG to win.
When Bowling Green has the ball...
If this game goes like the rest in BG’s four-game Kent State winning streak, expect BG to score points early and often. The Falcons have outscored the Golden Flashes 161-49 through the streak, including last year’s 42-7 domination. Keep an eye on Andrew Clair, who has rushed for three straight 100+ yard games. BG is 10th in the conference in scoring offense, but the Falcons do seem to have found a bit of a stride lately, putting up 30 and 17 against Ohio and NIU, respectively.
For Kent State, fitting for a Halloween contest, their defense has been scary for Flashes fans. Surrendering 32.9 points per game (still better than BG!) and rank 11th in rush defense and 7th in pass defense in the MAC. Kent State’s defense bowed up two weeks ago and was largely responsible for their conference win, holding Miami to just 14 points. Like most games in the MAC, though, if you’re counting on a defensive showdown, you had best look elsewhere.
Overall Thoughts and Prediction
In some respects, the lack of dominance on both sides makes the game an intriguing one. It is likely to be a close contest throughout, and could be decided on one to two key plays or turnovers. Bowling Green’s offensive performance the last few weeks gives hope to those expecting the Flacons offense to win the day, and with a fairly pedestrian offense opposing their less than stellar defense, it is likely to be enough for the Falcons to make it five straight over the Golden Flashes.
Bowling Green 24
Kent State 21