NCAA Week One: Kent State vs. Penn State

Penn State's receivers held their own against #1 ranked Alabama(John Raoux/AP)

PSU: 2010 record – 1-1
KSU: 2010 record – 1-1
Spread: Penn State by 21
Where: Beaver Stadium
When: Saturday, 12:00 PM on ESPN2
Last time met: Sept. 20, 1990 – Penn State dominated Kent State on its way to a 32-10 win at home.  Freshman Austin Scott rushed for 100 yards and three touchdowns.
Last Week: The Nittany Lions were plagued by turnovers against Alabama in a 24-3 loss.  Kent State fell to Boston College in a 26-13 loss on the road.

Opposing player to watch – QB Spencer Keith: Any team needs a solid quarterback and the Golden Flashes seem to have one in sophomore Spencer Keith.  Keith is a very accurate passer going 47-for-71 for 476 yards so far this season.  He has also tossed four touchdowns along with three interceptions.  Keith led the way in their season opener against Murray State throwing for three touchdowns in an easy win.  He struggled a bit against Boston College throw two interceptions but still went 23-for-36 proving he can still be accurate against a tough defense.

Offenses: Penn State never could seem to punch the ball into the end zone last Saturday against Alabama.  Robert Bolden led the Nittany Lions down the field several times but the drives ended with turnovers once they entered the red zone.  It was the first national test for Bolden and he proved his youth against the Crimson Tide defense.  He should have a much easier time against Kent State.  It is one of the easiest games on Penn State’s schedule next to the opener against Youngstown State.  Bolden show be able to throw for 250 yards and three or four touchdowns.  The Golden Flashes are allowing 238 passing yards per game this season.  Derek Moye and Brett Brackett should continue to excel in the receiving game and should be solid games.

Kent State looks like they have a solid offensive team.  They waxed Murray State in their season opener but only managed one touchdown against Boston College last week.  Quarterback Spencer Keith has still managed to keep his quarterback rating relatively high due to his solid accuracy.  The Golden Flashes are clearly a passing team.  Their top two running backs only rushed a combined 35 times for 88 yards.  Look for Kent State to struggle if their passing game can’t solve the Nittany Lions’ defensive backs.

Advantage: Penn State has the advantage and should be able to mix up the pass and run with Royster and their slew of wide receivers.

Defenses: The Nittany Lions’ defense wasn’t at its best last Saturday against Alabama.  They could not seem to stop Trent Richardson on the ground.  They also were picked apart by quarterback John McElroy.  But this isn’t number-one ranked Alabama: it’s the Kent State Golden Flashes.  Aside from Spencer Keith being a decent quarterback the Kent State offense isn’t going to pose too many problems for the Penn State defense.  The pass rush should be able to get to Keith.  If they are in the backfield like they are capable of being, the Nittany Lions should tally a few sacks and bring the pressure.  Penn State should be able to get a few turnovers and should see the same results as the 2003 contest.

The Golden Flashes have their hands full with Penn State.  While Bolden is a freshman, he sure has looked very impressive aside from his turnovers last week.  Kent State is giving up an average of three touchdowns per contest against opponents Murray State and Boston College.  An AP Top-25 team should be able to steamroll the Golden Flashes.  They only have one interception so far this season so they aren’t making their living on takeaways.

Advantage: Penn State will bring the pressure and be in Keith’s face all game long.

Injury Report:
Penn State: LB Gerald Hodges (bone bruise in left leg) * Could miss up to five weeks
Alabama: RB Eugene Jarvis (groin) *Out for Penn State game

Prediction: Penn State has just too much firepower and blows out Kent State 38-10.

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Filed under Brent Brackett, Derek Moye, Evan Royster, Kent State Golden Flashes, NCAA Football, Penn State Nittany Lions, Robert Bolden, Spencer Keith

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