What: Kent State football, 2013 MAC Season Opener
Where/When: Today, Noon/Dix Stadium.
TV/Radio: WEWS Channel 5/WHLO 640 AM.
Head Coaches: Dave Clawson, Bowling Green (23-28, 5th year at BG; 81-77 overall); Paul Haynes, Kent State (1st year, 1-0).
This Year's Records: Bowling Green (1-0, 0-0 MAC); Kent State (1-0, 0-0 MAC).
Last Year's Records: Bowling Green (8-5), Kent State (11-3).
Series: Bowling Green leads 55-19-6. Kent State has played BG more than any other opponent in a series that dates back to 1920. The teams play annually for the Anniversary Award, which commemorates the founding of both schools in 1910.
Latest Line: Bowling Green by 7.
Scouting Bowling Green
The fact that the Falcons won their 2013 season opener wasn't overly surprising, but the way they dominated defending Conference USA champion Tulsa 34-7 turned heads across the MAC. Bowling Green held a Golden Hurricanes' offense, which averaged 245 yards rushing and nearly 35 points per game during last year's 11-win season, to 51 yards on the ground in 24 carries. ... The Falcons return 17 offensive/defensive starters for the second straight season. The nine returners on defense have made a collective 214 career starts. Seven players who were named All-MAC a year ago are back: Junior LB Gabe Martin and senior DB BooBoo Gates were First Team all-league, while senior punter Brian Schmiedebusch made the Second Team and senior TE Alex Bayer, senior OL Dominic Flewellyn, senior DT Ted Ouellet and senior DB Cameron Truss were named to the Third Team. ... Truss (7 tackles) and Gates (7 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 forced fumble, 1 recovered fumble) led BG's impressive defensive effort against Tulsa. ... The Falcons have a quarterback controversy on their hands. Returning starter Matt Schilz (senior) played the first two series against the Golden Hurricanes, then was replaced by Matt Johnson. The 6-0, 215-pound sophomore Johnson went the rest of the way, completing 11-of-23 passes for 151 yards, with one interception, while adding 50 yards rushing on nine attempts. Clawson has not said which quarterback will start against Kent State. .. Sophomore RB Travis Green rushed 22 times for 88 yards, while 262-pound freshman William Houston scored three touchdowns on 1-yard runs in the opener. ... Flashes fans should be on the lookout for Chris Gallon, who caught TD passes of 72 and 81 yards from Schilz last season against KSU. The 6-4 sophomore finished with 10 catches for 213 yards in that game.
Today's game is a rematch of last year's classic mid-November battle at BG, which the Flashes won 31-24 to clinch the MAC East Division title -- their first football championship of any kind in 40 years. ... Kent State enters the game riding a nine-game home winning streak, tied for fourth-best in the country, which started with a 27-15 victory over Bowling Green midway through the 2011 season. The Flashes also own the fourth-highest regular-season winning streak at 11 games, and are seeking their first-ever four-game winning streak against the Falcons. ... While Kent State struggled to defeat FCS foe Liberty 17-10 in its season opener, its defensive front dominated play as expected. Led by senior DT Roosevelt Nix and senior DE Mark Fackler, the Flashes held the Flames to 33 yards rushing on 22 carries. ... Senior speedster Dri Archer will be a game-time decision. He suffered an ankle injury in the first quarter of the opener against Liberty and did not return. Archer dressed for practice with an ankle brace, but did not take part in team drills on Tuesday or Wednesday. ... Starting senior left guard Pat McShane, who missed the opener due to a knee injury, is expected to play. However, starting junior free safety Calvin Tiggle is expected to miss his second straight game due to a foot injury. ... Redshirt freshman Colin Reardon will make his second career start at quarterback for the Flashes after completing 21-of-28 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns in the opener. His primary targets are senior Tyshon Goode (8 catches, 75 yards vs. Liberty) and junior Chris Humphrey (6-88), who caught the game-winning 42-yard TD pass against Liberty. ... With Archer's status uncertain, the Flashes will rely even more on 238-pound junior bruiser back Trayion Durham. He rushed for 92 yards on 21 attempts in the opener. ... The matchup features two of the nation's top punters. Brian Schmiedebusch, a Second Team All-MAC punter last year, landed four of his seven punts inside the 20-yard line in Bowling Green's opener. Meanwhile, Kent State sophomore Anthony Melchiori did not have any of his four punts returned (42.2 ypp) against Liberty. Both teams are very strong in all phases of special teams. Since Clawson took over at BG, the Falcons have recorded three kick returns for touchdowns, four punt returns for scores and 14 blocked kicks.
Facebook: Allen Moff, Record-Courier