Written by Evan Meyer – Special to INSC Digital Magazine
The Kent State Golden Flashes complete the non-conference portion of their schedule Saturday afternoon as they travel to Louisville, Kentucky to face the Cardinals from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
This is the second straight road game and third of the first four for KSU. They were shutout last Saturday at Marshall 21-0 and look to even their record before opening MAC play next week at home against Buffalo.
Louisville looks to rebound after losing their ACC opener at home to defending National Champion Clemson before a national television audience.
Here are my preview points for the noon kickoff in the Derby City.
LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (2-1, 1-1 ACC)
The Cardinals suffered their first loss of the season last Saturday night falling at home to defending National Champion Clemson 47-21. UL opened the season with wins over Purdue in Indianapolis 35-28 and then in their ACC opener at North Carolina 47-35.
UL is led by Bobby Petrino who is in his second stint with the school. He has a 111-44 overall record (69-23 at Louisville)
The Cards are averaging 34.3 points and 554 yards offensively. They are led by senior Lamar Jackson. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner has completed just under 60 percent of his passes (76-of-127) for 1088 yards and eight touchdowns with only one interception. In addition, he leads the team in rushing with 330 yards and added three more scores.
The receivers are led by junior WR Jaylen Smith who has 22 receptions for 379 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The offensive line has allowed six sacks over the three games.
The Louisville defense is allowing 36.7 points and 452 yards per game. Last week against Clemson they allowed 47 points and 613 total yards to the Tigers.
The defensive 11 are led by senior S Zykiesis Cannon who has 23 total tackles The UL defense has 10 sacks in the first three games and three interceptions including a 61-yarder by senior LB Stacy Thomas
Saturday’s game is the 18th lifetime meeting between the two schools, the tenth in Louisville and the first at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. KSU leads the all-time series 9-8 including their last meeting in September, 1973 10-3…UL holds a 7-2 edge in games played on the banks of the Ohio River. KSU’s last win there was in 1964 14-7.
KENT STATE GOLDEN FLASHES (1-2)
The Flashes were shutout last Saturday night at Marshall 21-0 seeing their record fall to 1-2. It was the first time KSU had been shutout since last September when they were blanked at Alabama 48-0
Nick Holley was injured late in the first quarter and did not return. He gained 35 yards on four carries but did not throw a pass. George Bollas completed just 4-of-12 passes for 55 yards.
Sophomore Justin Rankin led the ground game with 44 yards on six carries. Fellow soph WR Mike Carrigan led the receivers with three receptions for just 35 yards.
Among the defense, three players had double-digit tackles led by sophomore DB Jamal Parker with 12 (five solo) along with four pass breakups. Junior LB Jim Jones and sophomore S Mandela Lawrence-Burke had 11 each.
KSU is looking for their first non-conference road victory since 2012 at Rutgers 35-23 and the first time ever they have faced a defensing Heisman Trophy winner
Head Coach Paul Haynes was at UL in 2002 as secondary coach on the staff of then head coach John L. Smith