Kent State (1-2, 0-0 MAC) vs. Miami (0-3, 0-1 MAC)
Saturday, September 26, 2009 - 7:00 p.m. EST
Dix Stadium (25,000/FieldTurf) - Kent, Ohio
Radio: WNIR 100.1 FM (Tom Linder, Rob Polinsky & Ty Linder)
Television: None - Internet: K-Zone
Miami holds a commanding lead in the all-time series between
the two schools as the RedHawks hold a 44-12 overall advantage and are 21-6
in Kent. But, recent history indicates that tide is turning as the Golden Flashes
are 5-3 against the RedHawks in the last eight meetings.
Last season, KSU defeated Miami, 54-21, in Oxford.
A win will give Kent State its first back-to-back wins over the RedHawks since
winning three in a row from 1986-88.
TEAM QUICK FACTS
Redshirt freshman Zac Dysert was named Miami's
starting quarterback after Tuesday's practice. Dysert has completed 5-of-11
for 75 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Miami snapped its 10 quarter scoreless streak but still fell
to 0-3 with a 48-26 loss at Western Michigan in the MAC opener for
both schools last Saturday. The RedHawks do not play a game in Yager
until Oct 3 in a season-opening stretch that will see them play six
of their first seven away from home.
Miami has been hampered by 11 turnovers
in the first three contests, while creating just three — for
a turnover margin that ranks 118th out of 120 schools in the country.
coach Michael Haywood (Notre Dame '86) was introduced
as the 38th head coach in Miami history on Dec. 23, 2008. A Notre Dame
he came to Oxford following a four-year stint as the offensive coordinator
for the Fighting Irish. No stranger to the Mid-American Conference,
resume includes stops at Ohio (1991-92) and Ball State (1993-94),
before moving on to LSU for eight seasons and Texas for two more prior
his tenure in South Bend.
True freshman quarterback Spencer Keith was
solid in his first collegiate start, completing 21-of-32 attempts (65.6
for 255 yards,
two touchdowns and one interception.
After battling through
a sprained ankle that hampered him for most of the first two
games, sophomore quarterback Giorgio Morgan sat
out against Iowa State. He is 30-for-51 on the year (58.8 pct.)
for 239 yards and three interceptions. The coaches will evaluate his
week in regards to his availability for Saturday.
wide receiver Tyshon Goode is off
to an impressive start, leading the Flashes with 13 catches
pick against Iowa State, junior free safety Brian Lainhart now has nine interceptions
in the last 10 games dating back to Oct. 4,
2008. His 11 career interceptions are tied for seventh in KSU
Junior middle linebacker Cobrani Mixon continues
to shine, leading the team with 31 tackles (18 solo) and 4.0 TFL. Impressively,
tied for the team lead with three pass break-ups.
STATE GOLDEN FLASHES
State's best players are on the defensive side of the ball. That's where
you'll find junior safety Brian
now has an interception in nine of his last 10 games. Lainhart leads
the team with all three
of KSU's picks this year. He's also second in tackles with 22. Sophomore
corner Josh Pleasant is third
with 18 stops. The Golden Flashes have allowed their opponents to complete
just 43-of-83 (52-percent) of
their passes for 500 yards. They allow 166.7 yards per game. They have,
however, been susceptible to the big play, allowing four touchdowns through
the air. Safety Dan Hartman has posted 13 tackles and has one
freshman Zac Dysertgets the nod as Miami's starting
quarterback after the RedHawks went scoreless in their first 10 quarters
of the 2009 season. Dysert has limited experience, but he's a dual-threat.
Ranks second all-time in Ohio high school football with 11,174
passing yards. He threw 100 touchdown passes for his career. Even without
injured Chris Givens at wide receiver, the RedHawks are dangerous.
Armand Robinson and Eugene Harris combined last
week to catch 15 passes for 229 yards against Western Michigan. Robinson
leads the team with 14 catches for 149 yards. Jamal Rogers
has 13 catches for 104 yards and a team-high two touchdowns.
transfer Cobrani Mixon continues
to shine in the middle of the Golden Flashes defense. Mixon leads the
team in tackles
with 31, including four for a loss. Freshman Luke
had eight tackles against Iowa State, will start in place of Dorian
Wood. The other starter, Anthony Mirando, has four tackles.
Thomas Merriweather leads a struggling Miami rushing
attack with 32 carries for 46 yards. Expect to see Andre Bratton
and Roman Lawson to get their shot carrying the ball as they
average 5.3 and 4.9 yards per carry, respectively. QB Dysert also has
the ability to run, giving this unit another weapon.
defensive end Monte Simmons leads
the unit with 13 tackles and has a team-high 2 1/2 sacks. DE Kevin
Hogan has posted 11
stops and is near the top of Kent State's all-time sacks list. Sam
Frist missed the first game with an injury and made his first start
against Iowa State. He already has five tackles. DT Aaron
has nine tackles. Defensive tackle Ishmaa'ily Kitchen, a 6-foot-3,
301-pounder, has recorded four tackles on the season.
has rushed for just 159 yards in three games. The offensive line is young,
with just two juniors, a sophomore and two freshmen (one a redshirt),
but it's a big unit that averages over 6-foot-4 and 292 pounds. Left
tackle Brandon Brooks, who started all 12 games last
season, leads this unit--in size and maturity. How this unit responds
to the change from a dropback passer to a dual-threat likely will determine
how successful the Miami offense can be.
freshman Spencer Keithstarted
KSU's last game. Redshirt sophomore Giorgio
Morgan could return to action,
but will he get the start? KSU quarterbacks have completed 61-percent
of their passes
for 575 yards and three touchdowns, all by Keith, to five interceptions.
Freshman Tyshon Goode leads the
Flashes with 13 catches for 143 yards. KSU's next two best wide receviers--Phil Garner and Kendrick Pressley--have a combined 12 catches
for 57 yards. Derek
McBryde is the only wide receiver with a
has allowed 258 yards passing per game, most of which came during a horrible
10-quarter scoreless streak that saw the RedHawks get outscored 125-0.
Junior strong safety Jordan Gafford leads the team
with 33 tackles and two passes defended. Junior cornerback Brandon Stephens has two interceptions, the only picks for the RedHawks'
defense. The RedHawks have allowed their opponents to complete 59-of-96
passes (62-percent) for 775 yards. They allow an average of 258 yards
per contest and have given up a whopping 10 touchdown passes.
Andre Flowers and
freshman Dri Archer have rushed for
a combined 133 yards in two games since replacing fifth-year senior Eugene
Jarvis, who is out for the season. The Flashes haven't generated
much offensive consistency, largely in part to the absence of a dominant
rushing game. The biggest weapon here might
be Archer catching passes out of the backfield. Look for former running
back Jacquise Terry to return to the position after a brief
stint at wide receiver.
linebackers, like the RedHawks' offensive linemen, are short on experience.
Freshmen Anthony Shoemaker and sophomore Jerrell Wedgeare expected to start at Kent State. Wedge is second on the team in tackles
with 30, 15 of those came against Kentucky, and leads the team with three
tackles for loss. The RedHawks use multiple fronts, which means
this unit could drop to two linebackers or grow to four, depending
on what they throw at the Golden Flashes.
Miami's youthful front five, the Golden Flashes don't have much experience
up front. Before the injury to sophomore Michael Fay, the Golden
Flashes were slated to start one true freshman, one redshirt freshmen,
two sophomores and a junior. Fifth-year senior Dante Campbell
replaces Fay at left guard. This unit must build on two solid performances.
from senior DT Martin Channels, who now weighs in at 307, the
RedHawks aren't big up front. Instead, they rely on speed to pressure
the quarterback. Ends Matt Kajmowicz and D.J. Svabik lead the team with one sack each. Channels leads the unit with eight
tackles and DT Austin Brown is right behind him with seven.
an encouraging fall, and a sparkling season opener, the KSU special teams
has taken a step backwards. A big step backwards. Since Eugene Jarvis
had two big punt returns to set up scores in week one, the Golden Flashes
have fumbled away two punts and totaled seven yards on four punt returns.
Kicker Freddy Cortez also missed his only field goal attempt
since having his first collegiate kick blocked against Coastal Carolina.
If there's a bright spot on special teams, it's punter Matt Rinehart,
who has averaged 38.4 yards per punt with four kicks over 50 yards.
specialists graduated last year, leaving walk-on Chris DiCesare
to handle the punting and Trevor Cook to place kick. DiCesare
has averaged 39 yards per boot, good for fifth in the MAC, and has
three punts of over 50 yards. Cook is 0-of-1 on field goals and 2-of-3
on extra points. Thus far, Dustin Woods has handled
the punt returns, he has a 9.2-yard average, but Eugene Harris
also is available. Woods also leads the team with 109 kickoff return
yards (15.6 average). Miami's kickoff team also has struggled as
the RedHawks have allowed 35.3 yards per return.
Kent State gets the nod in most of the above categories, that doesn't
mean the Golden Flashes are going to walk all over Miami. The advantage
in most categories is slim, at best. This game features two teams
on the ropes. The RedHawks enter 0-3 in the first year of the Mike
Haywood-era. A loss to Kent State drops the RedHawks to 0-2 in the
MAC, and with
non-conference games against nationally ranked Cincinnati and at
Northwestern coming up could mean an 0-6 start. For Kent State, the
Golden Flashes need a win, not only to start off conference play
on the right foot, but because the team has yet to rebound emotionally
from losing Jarvis to a season-ending injury.
MIAMI'S KEYS TO THE GAME:
Score early. Ten quarters is a long time to go without scoring. An
early score could settle down freshman quarterback Zac Dysert and
allow him to do what he does best: read defenses and make big plays
with his arm and legs.
Pressure Kent State's quarterbacks. Giorgio Morgan could return
from an ankle injury and Spencer Keith has yet to see much pressure.
Make them both work for everything they get.
Win the turnover battle. Miami is -8 and KSU is -3 in the turnover
battle. Face it, there are going to be some turnovers in this game,
and Miami needs to come out on top of that deal.
KENT STATE'S KEYS TO THE GAME:
Score early to gain confidence, and the crowd's support, and to force
Miami quarterback Zac Dysert to become one-dimensional. Taking
away his ability to
scramble is important.
Make positive plays on special teams. Don't give up offensive possessions
by fumbling away punts and kickoffs.
Find a quarterback and stick with him. Both Giorgio Morgan and Spencer
Keith are healthy and should see playing time. Allow one to find
his groove and stick with him.
KSU 24, MU 13
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