Sunday, January 06, 2013

Bowl Season Predictions, Part 15

Sunday night at 9 PM the Bowl kicks off with the Kent State Golden Flashes (11-2) against Arkansas State Red Wolves (9-3). Arkansas State is favored by 3 1/2 points.

Kent State’s Dri Archer is a threat when either running or receiving the ball. He leads the team with 1,352 rushing yards on 150 carries and has another 539 yards on 35 catches.  Archer has scored 15 TDs on the ground and another four via the pass. As a team, the Golden Flashes average 228.3 ypg rushing, good enough to rank 15th in the nation. Their passing game isn’t nearly as good and they are ranked just 107th. Defense against the pass isn’t so good either (103rd) but they are 40th in the nation against the run.

Arkansas State has a pretty decent rushing attack (217.4 ypg for 21st ranking) and also passing attack (264.4 ypg, 40th). Overall, they are ranked 17th in the nation on offense. They are also fairly well balanced on defense ranking 53rd against the pass (233.2 ypg) and 49th against the run (153.3 ypg). QB Ryan Alpin has completed 67.8% of his passes for 3,129 yards and 23 TDs while throwing just 4 INTs. David Oku leads the rushing attack with 225 carries for 1,024 yards and has scored 15 TDs on the ground.

Darrell Hazell will coach his final game for Kent State before taking off for the head job at Purdue. This is the first appearance for the Golden Flashes since they lost to Delaware in the 1954 Refrigerator Bowl. (Heh. Odd names are not new to the bowl world.)

Arkansas State won’t have its head coach on the sidelines.Gus Malzahn will be moving on to Auburn. Defensive coordinator John Thompson will serve as Arkansas State's interim coach and former Texas co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin will step in as the new head coach next week.

There’s plenty of emotion on both sidelines and this could be a back and forth slugging match. After its triple overtime loss to Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship, Kent State should be up to the challenge.

My pick: Kent State

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