Scouting Kent State

Matt Willinger, Associate Editor
Cardinal Sports


Kent State closes out non-conference play Saturday, visiting Louisville at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. The Golden Flashes will face the Cardinalsfor the first time since 1973. Saturday marks the second ranked ACC opponent for Kent State this season and the Flashes’ third road trip in four weeks.



Kent State will be without two key leaders Saturday as junior linebacker Matt Bahr and fifth-year senior quarterback Nick Holley will be out with knee injuries.

• Bahr made what seemed to be a seamless transition from safety to linebacker in the spring with some extra time in the weight room. At Clemson, Bahr made nine tackles in the first half, including six solo stops and 1.0 tackle for loss.

• Holley threw for a pair of touchdowns and ran for 119 yards, a TD and a two-point conversion against Howard, earning MAC East Offenive Player of the Week honors. Holley had 11 rushing touchdowns and six 100-yard rushing performances in his first nine games at quarterback. In week 5 against Akron last year, Holley played QB for the first time since high school. He went on to earn MAC East Offensive Player of the Week honors three times over the next six games. Holley also earned the Lt. Jack Rittichier Award as the team’s MVP.

• The Flashes used four starting QBs in 2016.


• Senior cornerback Demetrius Monday has nine career interceptions, including one in each of his last two games.

• Head Coach Paul Haynes officially returned last week after a two-week medical leave of absence to begin the season.

• Sophomore defensive back Jamal Parker had 12 tackles and four pass breakups at Marshall.

• Sophomore safety Mandela Lawrence-Burke had a career-high 11 tackles against the Herd.

• The Flashes are looking for their first non-conference road win since 2012.

• Sophomore Derek Adams ranks 22nd in the nation in punting average. One of only seven sophomores on the The Ray Guy Award Watch List, Adams has pinned seven punts inside the 20.

• The Flashes dominated the ground game in the first half at Marshall outgaining the Herd 139-37. Five different players had at least one carry of 15 yards or more.

• Senior Nathan Puthoff was chosen to wear the No. 54 jersey in honor of late teammate Jason Bitsko. Puthoff is also on the Rimington Trophy Watch List, honoring the nation’s best center.

• Junior Raekwon James has 1,524 career allpurpose yards. • Kent State returns 12 players who have earned Academic All-MAC honors in their career and three MAC Distinguished Scholar Athletes.

• Freshman QB Dustin Crum completed a 40-yd pass on his second career attempt at Marshall.


Kent State leads the all-time series with Louisville 9-8. The Flashes and Cardinals met 17 times from 1956-1973. In the last meeting, Jack Lambert led a dominant defensive performance in Kent State’s 10-3 win at Dix Stadium in 1973.


• The Cardinals rank ninth in the nation in total offense (554.0) despite playing challenging defenses in the first three games (Clemson, Purdue, North Carolina).

• Louisville ranks 11th in the nation in passing offense, averaging 362.7 yards per game.

• The Cardinals returned nine starters on defense from a team that won nine of its first 10 games last season.

• Since 2014, Louisville is 14-5 at home. The Cardinals have won eight or more games in five straight seasons.

• This past Saturday, Louisville picked up 21 first downs and 443 yards of offense against defending national champion Clemson.


The Golden Flashes are 12-26 against current Atlantic Coast Conference programs. Don James’ teams earned wins over NC State, Louisville and Syracuse from 1971-74. The following year, KSU topped Virginia Tech, but a 1971 win over NC State remains as the only true victory against the ACC. Prior to this year’s season opener at Clemson, Kent State hadn’t played an ACC team since 2014, visting Virginia.

• Louisville is the only non-conference FBS opponent Kent State has played more than once and holds a winning record against (9-8).


In their win over Howard, the Golden Flashes outscored their opponent 15-7 in the fourth quarter, an occurence that hasn’t come easily in recent years. KSU outscored its opponent twice in the fourth last season, resulting in wins over Buffalo and Central Michigan.


The win over Howard was the first time since 2014 (Akron), the Flashes trailed in the fourth quarter at Dix Stadium and came back for a victory.


Sophomore running back Will Matthews was the Flashes biggest offensive weapon in the fourth quarter. Although Matthews had just two carries for 10 yards in the first three quarters, he carried the load in the fourth with eight attempts for 54 yards.


Since 2012, Kent State is 21-6 when out-gaining opponents on the ground and 3-34 when the opposition runs for more yards.


With its 38 points against Howard, Kent State improved to 9-1 when scoring 27 or more points in regulation since the beginning of the 2013 season. Kent State is 4-36 when falling short of 27 during that time.


Since the beginning of 2012, Kent State is 20-6 when leading at halftime and 1-32 when trailing at the break.


The Flashes have not turned the ball over in five of their last 11 games. Kent State finished eighth in the nation in turnover margin last season. This season, KSU has only lost a fumble in one game and has thrown an interception in one game.

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