Five questions with Kent State beat writer Allen Moff

BroncoBlitz: The Golden Flashes 2-3 MAC record is a bit deceiving. They have three four-point losses and a big 24-point win over Buffalo and last week's win over a good Central Michigan team. Is this team better than its record indicates?

Allen Moff: Coach Haynes says they are what they are record-wise, and I agree. They certainly had chances to win all three MAC games they lost. You could argue that they were one possession away from winning each contest. But bottom line, as Kent State teams have done so often over the past 40 years, they found ways to lose those games.

BroncoBlitz: Western Michigan coach PJ Fleck speaks highly of Coach Haynes from their days coaching on the Ohio State staff under Jim Tressel. It seems that Haynes has the team on the verge of a breakthrough. Is that the general feeling around the program?

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Allen Moff: I think most of the players believe the team is on the upswing. Most fans don't seem convinced just yet. So much apathy has been built up over the past 40-plus years, it's going to take sustained success to make believers out of most Kent State fans.

BroncoBlitz: Sophomore placekicker Shane Hynes kicked a 35 yard field goal last week with no time on the clock to complete a 17-point comeback at a hostile Kelly/Shorts Stadium. It was the biggest comeback since 2003 for the Flashes and seems to confirm what coach Haynes has said about this team that they are resilient. Do you agree? What are some other manifestations of the teams never-say-die attitude?

Allen Moff: They could have folded after losing two starting quarterbacks in the first four weeks, or to rival Akron in heartbreaking fashion in the MAC opener, or after letting games slip away against Miami and Ohio. But to me the proof that this team flat out will not quit came after a 10-2 lead late in the first half against Central Michigan turned into a 24-10 deficit two possessions into the second half, following a bizarre series of plays that all went against the Flashes. If they were ever going to pack it in, that would have been the time. Instead they scored on their next possession, shutout CMU the rest of the way and at long last pulled out a close win. This team has flaws, but it's heart should never be questioned.


BroncoBlitz: If Kent State has to rely on points from it's placekicker they could be in for a long night. We know that Kent State has weapons. Who should we watch for on both sides of the ball?

Allen Moff: Offensively, new quarterback Nick Holley is showcased running the read-option. When the offense is at its best Holley has been aided by a second consistent weapon in freshman tailback Justin Rankin. Defensively, the Flashes have a two-time First Team All-MAC safety in Nate Holley, Nick's twin brother, who has been among the nation's leaders in tackles the last two years. Senior rush end Terence Waugh is another player to watch, with eight sacks on the year, while senior Najee Murray and juniors Demetrius Monday and Jerrell Foster are key members of the secondary.

BroncoBlitz: Western's Coach P.J. Fleck has talked about getting every team's best from here on out. It would certainly make Kent States season to knock off the #17 Broncos. What must the Golden Flashes do to play the spoiler on Tuesday night? What is your prediction for the final score? Will there be over/under 5,000 in the seats for the national television audience? Finally, Ohio...will they go red or blue?

Allen Moff: Offensively, Kent State will need to play turnover-free, possess the ball for long stretches of time, and finish off drives with touchdowns - as you mentioned, field goals aren't going to beat the Broncos. Defensively, the Flashes will need to avoid big plays and create several turnovers, producing at least one defensive touchdown. Simple as that. Do I see it happening? No. I'll say WMU 44, KSU 20; under on the attendance, and no clue on Ohio.