After three consecutive 5-7 seasons, the hope for Kent State is to get that one more win and qualify for a bowl and possibly get a winning record, their first since 2001.
Offense: If the Golden Flashes are going to reach that goal, their offense is set up to lead them to great things. Key starters return at QB, RB, WR, TE, RT, LT and RG.
While Spencer Keith struggled in the beginning of the year, he threw eight of his 11 touchdowns in the last five games and did not throw an interception in those games. He will have to hold off David Fisher, a JC transfer, tho.
Like Keith, running back Trayion Durham had some of his most successful games in the closing games of the season. He rushed for 371 of his 630 yards in the final five games. He’s only a sophomore.
Tyshon Goode struggled last season, catching only 24 passes for 316 yards. In 2010, he caught 59 balls for 743 yards.
Defense: Like the offense, the defense returns seven starters. Last year’s defense finished 21st nationally allowing just 326.2 yards per game. That’s impressive for a team in the MAC, as four teams in the league ranked in the top 23 offensively, including three in the top 19. They also finished 12th nationally in turnover margin with a plus-12.
Defensive tackle Roosevelt Nix, a junior, has been first-team All-MAC in both of his first two years and had he not played through an injury, he may have had more than 17 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.
The top two tacklers on last year’s squad were linebackers and they both return. Luke Batton finished with 102 stops, while C.J. Malauulu had 83. Three starters from the secondary also return, including safety Luke Wallet, who had four picks.
Recruiting: The Golden Flashes brought in a full class of 25 players, including 13 on offense. Some of their recruits put up outstanding stats in high school and will look to help right away. Running back Julian Durden finished with 2,104 rushing yards and 32 touchdowns. Fisher completed 184-of-333 passes for 2,539 yards, 27 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. He also ran for 403 yards and seven touchdowns. With the team possibly needing help in the defensive backfield, the arrival of Adam Maxie might be a good thing. As a senior, Maxie had 137 tackles, one forced fumble and five pass breakups in 2011.
Schedule: The Golden Flashes only have five home games this season, but one of those is against league favorite Ohio. In fact, if Kent State takes care of business in conference play, the division might be decided the last two weeks of the season, as the Golden Flashes ended the season at Bowling Green and at home against Ohio.