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October 3, 2012

Preview: Eastern Michigan

Follow KentStateReport.com on Twitter | Givler | Birmingham

After last Saturday's thrilling 45-42 win against Ball State, Kent State is back in action this Saturday, when they will travel to Eastern Michigan to square off with the Eagles in Ypsilanti.

In last year's meeting, Kent State trailed 13-0 after the first quarter of play, but recovred thanks to a 70-yard touchdown strike from Spencer Keith to Tyshon Goode with just over seven minutes to play and a game-sealing interception at their own goal line with 1:47 left to edge the Eagles 28-22. This year, at 3-1 (2-0, MAC), the Golden Flashes are aiming for their first 4-1 start since 1977 and their seventh straight win against MAC opponents.

Kent State's offense has been rolling this season, amassing 400-plus yards in each of their last three games, and the 461 yards in last week's win was their highest single game total since 2009. The main cogs, running back Trayion Durham, all-purpose back Dri Archer and quarterback Spencer Keith have all been major factors in each of Kent State's wins, especially Archer, who leads the NCAA in kick return yardage and all-purpose yards per game. Against Ball State, the diminutive Floridian towered over the Cardinals, collecting 350 total yards. Durham, the workhorse, has been steady, leading the Golden Flashes in rushing yards while averaging 20 carries a game.

The Eagles are well-rested as they come off a bye week following a closer-than-expected battle with Michigan State two weeks ago, and they will look to build off of whatever moral victory that game provided them. At 0-4, head coach Ron English will turn to his defensive unit to get this team off the snide. The Eagles are second in the MAC in yards allowed through the passing game, but are being gashed week in and week out on the ground, which should bode well for Kent State's two-pronged tailback attack. In four games, EMU has surrendered over 1200 yards on the ground, and 14 rushing touchdowns. Kent State has scored 9 touchdowns on the ground this season while collecting just under 175 yards per contest on the ground.

On offense for the Eagles, it's been just chaotic and unpleasant. Senior QB Alex Gillett leads the team in rushing and has scored twice with his feet, but has struggled to find any consistency through the air. He was replaced by sophomore Tyler Benz after a three interception outing against Purdue, and watched as it was Benz who gave the Eagles a shot at the upset in East Lansing without turning the ball over.

Not turning the ball over is vital for EMU as they try and upset Kent State, which features a swarming defense that specializes in takeaways; Kent State's +8 turnover margin on the season is good for sixth nationally.

The Skinny
Kick Off: 1:00 PM at Rynearson Stadium in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
TV: None; although video will be available at www.mac-sports.com
Radio: Kent State's new partnership with 640 WHLO and iHeartRadio means that 640 is the official home of Kent State football and basketball. Ty Linder works the booth and the game be heard on iHeartRadio on a PC, smart phone or tablet.

All-Time Series: Kent State leads the all-time series with Eastern Michigan 16-13.



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