WHERE: Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, MI
ALL TIME: First meeting
MEDIA: [Radio] Spartans Sports Network, WJIM Lansing 97.5 FM;[TV]ESPN PLUS
WHEN THE SPARTANS HAVE THE BALL:
Michigan State's Drew Stanton is one of the elite quarterbacks in the NCAA. The Spartans go as Stanton goes and that's usually pretty efficiently. The Spartans boast a strong offensive line led by senior captain Chris Morris, a solid group of running backs including starter Jason Teague and sophomore Jehuu Caulcrick. The Spartans wide receivers are deep and talented led by Junior Matt Trannon and last year's leading receiver Jerramy Scott.
Kent State will try to stop the Spartans running attack and then get after the quarterback. Led by defensive lineman Daniel Muir, a Fox Sports first-team all MAC defender and Justin Parrish, named preseason MAC defensive player of the year. The Golden Flashes will put eight or nine men in the box on what they believe are running downs. If they can stop the run, they'll pin back their ears in an effort to get at Stanton. They believe they can leave their corners, led by Usama Young, a Lindy's first team all-MAC selection, on an island.
WHEN THE GOLDEN FLASHES HAVE THE BALL:
Kent State would have a real shot in this one if they could have back one player, quarterback Josh Cribbs, who is now returning kicks for the Cleveland Browns. As it is, they have Michael Machen, a 6-foot-6, 235,redshirt freshman from Coffeyville CC behind center. Expect the Golden Flashes to air it out.
The Flashes run a four receiver look similar to Michigan State's spread attack and feature big, tall receivers, including 6-foot-5 sophomore Cameron Bobb, 6-foot-3 Najah Pruden, 6-foot senior H-back Derrick Bushand and 6-foot-6 tight end Jake Parsons, that will challenge Michigan State's secondary.
Kent State runs a fourth wide receiver out in place of the tight end in some sets. When they run the ball, redshirt freshman 6-foot-1 Tony Smith of Streetsboro, OH. will get the call.
If the Spartans offense fizzles, this could be closer than expected. KSU has enough firepower to cause trouble for Michigan State's depleted secondary. The Spartans front four, led by Clifton Ryan and senior Domata Peko must get enough pressure to keep Machen from getting comfortable.
Expect the Spartans to use a healthy dose of the run game with Teague, Caulcrick and freshman Javon Ringer to keep the Flashes off the field.
Michigan State 30 - Kent State 20