Kent State comes to UB Stadium at 3:30 p.m. Saturday for the University at Buffalo's Homecoming game. The Golden Flashes (1-4) are down to their third starting quarterback, slot receiver Nick Holley, but he rolled up more than 400 yards of offense in a 31-27 loss to Akron last week. Here's a report on the Golden Flashes from Elton Alexander, who covers the Mid-American Conference for the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
1. What's your impression of Nick Holley at QB? Do you think Kent State has stumbled on a way to make the offense take a great leap forward?
Holley is the kind of QB that proliferated in the MAC prior to Marshall arriving and turning the MAC into a passing league. I-option, read-option, spread-option, whatever the word of the day is, he's a running QB who will try to throw enough to keep teams off guard. Tough kid, had back surgery last season. Started 2015 as No. 1 tailback, had the surgery, and returned this year as No. 1 WR to start the season. Now at QB.
2. It's Paul Haynes' fourth year as head coach. What do you think of the job he's done building the roster?
Shy of playmakers, the roster is pretty solid all around, particularly on defense. Team just keeps getting hit with buzzard luck ... lost their best OL to death right at the start of '14 camp, and that unit is still trying to recover ... two pretty good freshmen QBs were lined up to fight for the job, now both are injured and out for the season ... had that snowstorm game in Buffalo a few years back ... had a three-hour delayed bad weather game vs. FCS team to start this season they lost in 4 OT ... last week vs. Akron pretty much had an upset over the Zips locked up before backup Akron QB who can't hit the side of a barn made one miracle throw to send Kent to another loss.
3. What potential vulnerabilities do you see in the Kent defense heading into conference play?
They just wear down. Alabama aside, all their losses this season have been fourth quarter losses. The offense keeps them on the field too long. Also, while they have a good pass rushing DE (Waugh), they don't have two or three guys like they usually do.
Overview: By and large, good teams that can score 21 points or more will probably beat them in most games; the offense is that bad. But if Kent's defense/special teams can put a TD on the board (or a very short-field TD) then most opposing teams are in for a battle. The defense is not electric, but extremely solid.
Alexander's coverage in the Cleveland Plain-Dealer can be found at: http://www.cleveland.com/sports/college/ He's on twiiter @eaPeeDee