The Kent State Golden Flashes of the MAC have had a rough go of it to start the season. They opened the season by being a punching bag for Clemson, a 56-3 route. Kent State didn’t offer any resistance and it showed on the scoreboard. The following week they struggled to put away Howard, a team they should have had no issues beating comfortably. It should take some effort from Kent State if they want to go bowling this season.
There are some good teams in the MAC that should give them fits once conference play begins. Kent State has never won a bowl game, they are 0-3 in that regard. They played in the Refrigerator Bowl back in 1954 and lost 19-7 to Delaware. Their most recent defeat came in the 2012 GoDaddy Bowl, a 17-13 loss to Arkansas State.
Kent State had a great 2012, going 8-0 in MAC play but couldn’t cap it off with a bowl victory. Instead of building on that success, they’ve gone in the wrong direction. The Golden Flashes went 3-9 in 2016, with one of their wins coming in quadruple overtime against North Carolina A&M. That is not a good win to be proud of. Kent State started a converted wide receiver at quarterback after they discovered they weren’t going anywhere quick. It was trial by error with Nick Holley, but it worked reasonably enough to stay around in games.
Kent State realized they had nobody to throw the ball, so what did they do? They adopted the triple-option with a quarterback who only knows how to run. Through the first two weeks of the regular season, Holley has made only 20 pass attempts. Against Clemson, Holley finished with 1-yard passing. Marshall, on the other hand, haven’t hit their stride thus far this season, either.
Nevertheless, losing might be a better outcome than barely beating a school like Howard. Marshall opened the year with a 31-26 win over Miami-Ohio. Chase Litton comes back for his third-year as the starter at quarterback for Marshall. We’ll see if he can get the offense going against Kent State on Saturday. Head below for our free Kent State vs. Marshall pick.
Ken State Golden Flashes vs. Marshall Thundering Herd Betting Odds:
Kent State +14.5(-110)
vs. Marshall -14.5(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Kent State vs. Marshall Pick:
Chase Litton can throw the ball, he just hasn’t really shown it yet. I expect to see him and the Marshall offense start opening things up, though. Litton threw for 23 touchdowns and 9 interceptions in his first-year, and followed it up with a similar stat-line of 24 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Litton has opened the year up with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, but against Kent State, I like him to get things going and put together a big game. Marshall will be able to run on Kent State with ease, though. After Week 2, the Golden Flashes are allowing 280 yards per game on the ground, 122nd in the nation.
It wasn’t just Clemson that gashed Kent State, Howard had a 167-yard rusher. So, the Kent State run defense is behind help up by paper, and there are holes in that paper. The Marshall defense didn’t have much to be happy about in 2016, as they finished 107th in yards allowed per game and points. They will be better, though. Their secondary has made strides in the offseason, while getting talent back to bolster their backend. The Thundering Herd won’t have to worry much about the Kent State passing attack, however.
Marshall has looked better against the run, allowing Miami-Ohio and NC State to run for an average of 137.5 yards per game. Kent State is going to stick to the run throughout in this game. However, I can see Marshall getting out to a fast lead and forcing Kent State to start going to the passing game. That’s a recipe for a disaster against on the road. Marshall wants a team to beat up on, and I think they found their victim. Litton has a big day, with the ground game setting up the pass, leading the Thundering Herd to a three-touchdown victory on Saturday afternoon.
PICK: MARSHALL -14.5 (-110)