The Kent State Golden Flashes beat the Bowling Green Falcons 62-20 in a rivalry game from Dix Stadium. Here are five things learned from that contest, in which Kent State set a new program record for total yards and had the fourth highest offensive output in MAC history.
1. It’s official: BGSU just isn’t very good.
I have stayed mostly positive on the Falcons this season.
They beat Morgan State in their opener (which feels as if it was forever ago) and then loss to a Power Five school in Kansas State, while having chances against Louisiana Tech.
I felt that this past weekend's game against Kent State, their sister school and a projected back marker in the MAC would answer some questions.
And it did: simply put, Bowling Green isn’t very good right now.
The Falcons will not be favored in another game this season, and certainly not in two weeks when they travel to Notre Dame.
And that’s fine. It is fine for them to not be very good.
Their defense was gashed for almost 800 yards, reminiscent of last year's defense.
The Falcon faithful won’t want to hear it, but they are a young team, in the first year of a new system. Their top quarterback (Matt McDonald) was forced to sit out by the NCAA.
The plus side to this season is that unlike the Mike Jinks era, the program is at least taking their lumps on an upward swing. They have hit rock bottom and are now trending upwards, regardless how little of an upward trend that may be.
Young players are going to get playing time, which will serve them well next year. The players are going to learn football from an experienced staff and next year they should be well served for those lessons.
And well, in the meantime, we will always have that August night against Morgan State.
2. Kent State is a sleeper team:
Let's be honest, the MAC has not been anything special this year.
Everyone outside of Toledo has shown problems, and even Toledo has a loss against Kentucky of the SEC.
This looks like it could be anyone's race in the MAC and Kent State could be a sleeper team.
Here me out. Yes, Kent State barely survived overtime against FCS Kennesaw State, and they have two loss but their two losses have been to two Power Five schools in Arizona State and Auburn, who have both been ranked and hold a combined one loss between them.
Kent State showed tremendous heart against those two schools and while they will likely get ran over by Jonathan Taylor and Wisconsin in two weeks, their non-conference lumps should serve them well in the remainder of conference play.
On Saturday, the Golden Flashes looked like a team who is in year two of an offensive system. They played with tempo and spread the ball all over the field. Yes, this could be as much of indictment to the porous Falcons defense as a testament to Kent State, but it is all that we have to evaluate them off of.
Their defense has been roughed up against Auburn to the tune of 55 points, and 30 points against Auburn but they are not likely to see offenses of that caliber again…well, uhh, after Wisconsin.
Kent State is probably still at least a year away but after Wisconsin there games against arch-rival Akron, struggling Miami and Ball State. It would take a lot for Kent to win their division, but if they win those three games they would be looking at five wins, just one win shy of bowl eligibility in Sean Lewis’ second year.
3. The Flashes Are Crum’s team:
Entering the season, I thought that Woody Barrett looked like a sleeper quarterback to be an all-MAC candidate.
Now even before the season's midway point, the Flashes are undoubtedly Dustin Crum’s team.
Yes, both quarterbacks have played in every game but Crum didn’t make way for Barrett until the game had been decided.
The junior was 26 of 31 for 310 yards, with three touchdowns. He now has five touchdowns and no picks on the season with a 70.9 completion percentage.
He is not higher among the MAC’s leaders due to splitting time and playing strong defense’s like Arizona State and Auburn in non-conference.
With Lewis, a Dino Babers disciple, we could be seeing Crum doing Matt Johnson-type things at Kent State, which is fitting considering Johnson is a graduate assistant with the Flashes.
Having a capable passer like Crum would do wonders to helping Jo-El Shaw to have more room to run.
Both quarterbacks are likely to continue to see time in two weeks against #8 Wisconsin, but Crum has deserved his role as a starter and should be granted a leash long enough to be in accordance of such a role.
4. Andrew Clair Returned:
Yes, Andrew Clair returned last week after missing the Kansas State game but that Andrew Clair didn’t look like the one we know and love.
Against Kent State, Clair looked more like himself, even despite the defeat.
Clair picked up 14 carries, 61 yards and a touchdown with a 4.4 yards per carry average. He also added four receptions for 23 yards.
If BGSU is to make any news moving forward in the MAC, they will need their best offensive play maker to make plays.
Bryson Denley and the powerful Davon Jones are solid backups who are capable of sustaining the Falcon rushing attack but it is Clair who has the potential to break games open and it will take a skillset like his if the Falcons are to surprise any team in the future.
Expect Clair to have tough sledding in two weeks against Notre Dame before preparing for the I-75 rivalry vs Toledo.
5. Kent State’s Receivers Are The Opposite Of Bowling Green's:
I am not sure that there is a team in the MAC with the talent at the wide receiver position.
Kent State’s seemed full of play-makers and production while BGSU seems to be searching for that home run threat.
Kavious Price and Isasiah McCoy are tied for sixth in the MAC in receptions with 18. Antwan Dixon has 11 receptions of his own.
McCoy is second in receiving yards with 288.
Shoot, Price even threw a touchdown to another receiver in Keenan Orr on Saturday.
Adam Dulka, and Mike Carrigan each had touchdowns.
Quintin Morris is the only Falcon to show on the receiving leader board with 218 yards on 16 receptions and two touchdowns.
While he has been solid, the Falcons need another receiver to emerge in addition to Morris and their tailbacks Andrew Clair and Bryson Denley.
Julian Ortega-Jones has been their number two option much of the year but slot receiver RB Marlow may have broke out with six receptions for 69 nice yards and a long of 45.
BGSU seems to be mostly possession orientated at receiver while Kent State has more home run threats who can score on any play.
Although Louisiana Tech looked loaded on offense after playing BGSU’s secondary as well.
Nate Needham missed another kick and was pulled for Mason Lawler, which might have been nothing more than a garbage time adjustment but it could be something… Darius Wade had two interceptions, in what is becoming a trend. His first half interception came with BGSU needing a score to keep it close… Both BGSU and Kent State will play power five opponents in Notre Dame and Wisconsin in two weeks following byes before facing their rivals, Toledo and Akron, respectively... Falcon fans, wanting good news? Blue Ribbon Basketball has picked the Falcons as their pick to win the Mid-American Conference and BGSU hockey was second in the pre-season WCHA poll.