After watching the UCF-Penn State game, the Kent State Golden Flashes (1-2) might have come to Beaver Stadium with high expectations were it not for the projected absence of its all-purpose star and Heisman candidate, fifth-year senior Dri Archer, without whom there is no flash in that pan. With Archer having seen very limited action due to injury, the hapless and flashless Flashes have dropped the first two games of a three-game road trip after a slim home victory over Falwell U.
The 5’8″, 175 pound Archer is the first player in Kent State history named to the Walter Camp All-America team. He has 29 career touchdowns and was voted captain by his teammates this year. In his junior year he set a single-season record for touchdowns with 23, which led the MAC. He finished the year with 1,429 rushing yards on just 159 carries, hitting pay dirt sixteen times on the ground. As a receiver, he led the team with 39 catches for 561 yards and four touchdowns. And as if that’s not enough, he returned three kickoffs for touchdowns and averaged 36.9 yards on sixteen kick returns, which is the highest in MAC history. His list of accomplishments goes on and on, and it is disappointing that we will not get to see him in his full glory. This turkey wishes the desiccated arrow man a quick and complete recovery.
Statistics … or not!
The ferkukta* NCAA statistics website is still acting like a rambunctious three-year-old, so I won’t be giving you any detailed statistics about Kent State’s performance thus far. However, here are a few choice tidbits. Can’t State [my voice transcription application spelled it that way and I like it, so I'm keeping it. ---TNT] ranks number 96 in passing yards, 95 in rushing yards, 110 in points for, and 93 in points against. That ain’t good. Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions are a respectable 27th in passing yards thanks to the Chris Hackenberg – Allen Robinson connection, but a mediocre 70th in rushing yards, 55th in points for, and 39th in points against.
In Kent State’s last outing against LSU, they flat-out sucked. This Turkey has to give them credit for choosing a formidable out-of-conference opponent, so they get points for that; unfortunately, even with those turkey points they didn’t score enough to overcome LSU’s 45-point onslaught, in which the Tigers rolled for 571 total yards, 264 yards passing and 307 yards rushing. The final score was 45-13.
Worthy of note to Penn Staters is that Kent State lost no fumbles and had no balls intercepted in that losing effort against quality opposition. Their lousy third-down efficiency, a lowly 4-14 or o.285, was nevertheless better than twice the season-to-date performance of putrid Penn State in that category. Penn State needs to shoot for matching the former and significantly improving upon the latter, where they are second to last of all FBS schools with a crappy 0.118. Come on! Fumbleitis and blown third down opportunities will wreck the season if they continue unchecked!
Kent State’s freshman quarterback Colin Reardon was 20-29 for 190 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions, still a credible job against a top-tier SEC opponent like LSU. Reardon is 56-85 for 548 yards and 4 TDs thus far this year.
The Flashless Flashes outscored the Bengals in the second and third periods, 13-10. Archer played only the first quarter before being yanked, having aggravated a nasty high ankle sprain. He is listed as “doubtful” for the Penn State game.
LSU’s quarterback Zach Mettenberger was able to amass his 264 yards on 13 completions with 18 attempts. He threw for three touchdowns. However, the big story here is the absence of Rob Bolden during garbage time in the fourth quarter. Bolden still shows up on the roster, so why didn’t LSU rest Mettenberger and play the Robster? Perhaps we should ask Mike Mauti for his opinion on this subject.
Speaking of Bolden, he was our freshman starting quarterback back in 2010 the last time these two teams met. In spite of that, Penn State won the game 24-0, kicking the snot out of the Golden Flashlessnesses. This Turkey expects a similar rout this time around, perhaps with a few more points being rung up, albeit with some actual points being scored by the Flashless Flashes due to our somewhat inept defense. Penn State leads the all-time series 3-0.
The Nittany Lions, still searching for some internal leadership, need to gather their wits after the disheartening loss to UCF, and not take this week’s opponent too lightly, Archer or not. Failing to do so can result in a Michigan-Akron kind of thing. I don’t think that will happen, but just sayin’… This is the last pre-B1G season tune-up, and of course, lots of things need tuning, particularly on the defense. If John Butler threw everything in the book at UCF, he better write a few more chapters.
Rain, Rain, Go Away
Unfortunately, the weather might not cooperate with our expectations of a grand and glorious September football afternoon. Bring your rain gear or sit on your ass and watch it at home hoping that the damn roof doesn’t spring a leak. AccuWeather is forecasting heavy rain and thunderstorms for Saturday with a high of 66°, not exactly fine football weather. The dampness should put a damper on both passing games to some extent, so we might be looking at Zach Zwinak an awful lot. Fortunately, he can be fun to watch — perhaps even more so in the mud.
Summing it all up…
When I went looking for distinguished alumni from Kent State I found only two that I know or care about: Steelers’ Hall of Fame linebacker Jack Lambert and comedian/actor Drew Carey, in that order. When I had to decide whose picture to include in this post, I was in a quandary: either mean, ugly Jack or homely Drew. Jack won. I can never get enough of this particularly photogenic game face, which pictorially sums up the Steelers’ defense of the 1970s.
Okay, enough of that for now. It is time for the Official Turkey Poop Prediction for this year’s edition of Kent State versus Penn State. This year the Turkey is perfect, sporting a record of 3-0 straight up, 3-0 against the spread, and 3-0 on the over/under. So, what the hell are we looking at here? Without Archer, Kent State doesn’t have a prayer. This would be a good game for side bets, such as how many times Kent State’s offensive line holds and doesn’t get called for it; however, that’s a sucker bet and I don’t make sucker bets, so I’ll leave that to others of you who watch those things. The Vegas line on this game favors Penn State by 21 with an over/under of 54. That suggests a Penn State win with a score of something like 37-16. The weather might have a bearing on how large the run-up will be, but I think Bill O’Brien will take this opportunity to show his fans and his players that he still has a team to be reckoned with. Furthermore, the Not-So-Golden Flashes are riddled with key injuries on both sides of the ball. If Archer shows up ready to play, all bets are off, but I’m liking Penn State to win this one 41-10. Take the under.
I’ll be back after the game with some Sunday morning crapper musings and, I hope, lots of good comments from you readers about this last preseason tuneup game.
(Interesting to note that I had to write this three times due to the vagaries of my ferkukta* transcription software. I even saw a dreaded Blue Screen of Death. Of course, I was doing things I shouldn’ta been doing, I suppose, like running a beta version of Windows 8.1!)
*ferkukta is Yiddish for “full of shit”, but it is used as a modifier instead of as a predicate adjective. I like to use it because I’m sort of in a ferkukta mood.