The Kent State Golden Flashes got their first victory this past weekend in front of their home fans in a 38-31 win over the Howard Bison. However, this Saturday they’ll need to play a better game overall if they wish to get their second win. KSU heads down south to West Virginia to take on the Marshall Thundering Herd who have an identical record of 1-1. Both teams have something to prove but let’s take a look at the keys to success for Kent State this Saturday.
1) Nick Holley must repeat his success
Quarterback Nick Holley had a huge game against the Howard Bison this past weekend and will need to continue to have success if Kent State Golden Flashes wants to compete for the MAC championship. He’ll be matched up against a Thundering Herd defense that hasn’t necessarily got it all together this year. Look for the Kent State coaches and Holley to utilize running back Justin Rankin not only in the running game but through the air as well.
2) Defense needs to step up
The Kent State Golden Flashes defense had its moments last week against Howard but just gave up too many yards overall. 226 through the air and 248 on the ground to be exact. Kent State was lucky to get the win. However, if they wish to improve to 2-1 this weekend the defense needs to do something special, which will be tough to do as Marshall quarterback Chase Litton has put up big numbers through the first two games. Expect Marshall to come out hitting fast and hard this weekend after losing last weekend to North Carolina State.
3) Get Justin Rankin going early
Justin Rankin as stated above can be a huge part of this offense and needs to be integrated more. Get Rankin more touches in the game and he will be a game changer. While Rankin may not be a huge guy too and may have trouble running between the tackles, using his speed and elusiveness to KSU’s advantage will be key. Off-tackle runs, option plays, and quick screen passes could lead to a huge game from the sophomore running back. If the coaching staff can integrate him early and frequently, watch him tire out the Thundering Herd defense and have a field day.