July 3, 2008

Flashes host MEAC champs in week three

Delaware State
State at Kent State

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Time TBA

Dix Stadium, Kent, Ohio

(Field Turf)

Radio/TV: WNIR 100.1 FM

[tm]Kent State[/tm]
Last season, Kent State
faced the Hornets for the first time school history. The Flashes
had their biggest win of the season, dismantling Delaware State,
38-7. Like last season, obviously, this is the third game of season
for the Golden Flashes.

Last season coach Al Lavan went 10-2 in his fourth season and
won the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference and were selected as the
American Sports Wire 2007 Division I Black College National Champs.
Delaware State received all 22 first place votes and 156 points
in the final ASW poll, over double the 75 points second place Jackson
State received.

Seven Hornets were named to the American Heritage Bowl, an all-star

Talented linebacker Russell Reeves, the MEAC Player of the Year,
led the Hornets last season, but now the team faces a rebuilding
year, like many Division 1-AA schools. Reeves posted 93 tackles
and five sacks.

Leading the way in 2008 is first team all-MEAC selection, Adrian
Brown, a senior offensive lineman and senior defensive tackle Ronn
Spinner. Spinner was fourth on the team in tackles last season
with 64 and was second on the team with 8 tackles for


Vashon Winton returns at quarterback, where he's started
24 games the past two seasons. Last fall he completed 59.1-percent
of his passes for 1,618 yards and 12 touchdowns. Winton will
be pushed by Bowling Green transfer Anthony Glaud and Micah Brown.

Running back Kareem Jones, who rushed for a team-high 705 yards
and two scores in 2007, returns to carry the ball for the Hornets.

The Hornets lose their top four pass catchers from last season.
Laronne Moore returns as the team leader in receptions with just
13 for 152 yards, but keep an eye on Darius Jackson, a newcomer
that hauled in six passes for 61 yards and a score in the Hornets'
spring game.

Defensively, the Flashes will have already played man coverage
(if they haven't played man coverage at this point, they probably
enter the game 0-2). Coaches may want to play more man just to
see more of it. Since Delaware State has a turn-over in its roster
nearly every season, and since this is the Hornet's second game,
the defense will likely stick with its game plan and only
make changes after one half of play.


Kent State coach Doug Martin put an emphasis on passing
in last year's game against DSU, and maybe it was so then
junior quarterback Julian
could improve his passing, or because Edelman had torn his PCL
the week before. In any case, this game will likely be an experiment
game. The Flashes probably won't reveal a new formation or trick
play, but they will certainly mix the roster around.

Sophomore Giorgio
Morgan could see extended playing time against Delaware

Andre Flowers likely will get the bulk of the
carries-- if the Flashes even run that much. The Kent State
wide receivers
one of their better games against Delaware State last season,
and this could be a good time to let the ball fly.

If the Iowa State game is one game fans shouldn't expect to see
Giorgio Morgan, then this week is the opposite. Morgan
will probably
not start the game, but may see more playing time then Edelman.
Considering the Flashes will be coming off two likely physical
games, resting Edelman before the bulk of the Mid-American Conference
wouldn't be a bad strategy.

Plus, Morgan is without a doubt the future of the program. After
losing his redshirt last season, and then injuring his knee
in his second start, Morgan has brought excitement to the football
team. The sophomore from Georgia has a terrific arm, but still
needs playing time to improve his pocket awareness, translation:
he gets sacked too much. After a spring that saw red jerseys
fly off the quarterbacks, and a summer that will likely have
many blitzes in store for Morgan, the Delaware State game is
the final exam.

Linebacker Josh Pope, who posted 75 tackles last season, returns
as DSU's top returning tackler. Second only to Reeves in tackles,
Pope will no doubt have his eyes glued to the hips of Kent State
running back Eugene Jarvis.

Up front, Spinner will try to pressure Edelman and/or Morgan
into making mistakes in the passing game to protect a secondary
that does not return a single player that recorded an interception
last season.


The past year has taught the casual college football fan that
Division I-AA schools should not be taken lightly. If Michigan
can lose at home to Appalachian State, Kent State certainly can.
However, this game will be a breather in what will have already
been a tough season. The Flashes go from two schools in the nation's
biggest conferences, to a small school from the nation's first
state. Even though the Flashes won by 31 points last season,
the team was only leading the Hornets 7-0 at halftime in 2007.
conference, Lavan looked like Ed Norton in the new Hulk movie,
and rightfully so, because his team gave up 31 points in the
second half.


Because the Flashes open with two BCS schools,
we still won't see the real Kent State Golden Flashes until MAC
play begins,
but this game we at least see if the Flashes are a team that
plays down to their opponents, or puts a team, which they SHOULD
beat, away early--something that the Flashes didn't quite
do last season. Also, look for special teams to have an impact.
Nate Reed could shoot for a school record field goal
in any game, but this may be perfect if the Flashes play conservative.


The New Dix: The game will be the first home
game of the season and will feature the new renovations at Dix
Stadium. A new score board? No
Summit Ave. endzone? A grass knoll instead? Where are we, Ohio
University? The stadium will also have a new entrance. With Akron
spending millions of dollars on a new stadium, Kent State renovates
Dix, built in 1969, to save money, while at the same time improving
the facility-- not a bad move at all, at least coming from a young
sports writer who has spent a lot--say it again--a lot of money
at the Michael Swartz Center (home of the toughest Kent State defenders,
the Bursar's office).

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