Records: Kent State (2-5), South Alabama (2-3).
When/Where: 3 p.m./Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.
Radio/TV: WHLO 640 AM/ESPN3
Head Coaches: Paul Haynes, Kent State (2-5, 1st year); Joey Jones, South Alabama (27-18, 5th season at USA; 30-25 overall).
Series: Kent State leads 1-0. The Flashes defeated the Jaguars 33-25 in 2011, giving then KSU head coach Darrell Hazell his first career victory after opening with three straight losses.
Latest Line: S. Alabama by 7.
SCOUTING s. ALABAMA
The Jaguars have already equaled their win total from last year, and could easily have it doubled up by now. They lost their opener 22-21 to Southern Utah on a last-second field goal, then fell 34-33 to Troy in their last game on Oct. 5 on a 65-yard touchdown pass in the final minute. South Alabama produced a school-record 630 yards of total offense against Troy. The other loss came 31-24 at Tennessee, while the Jaguars have posted victories over 5-2 Tulane (41-39) and 4-2 Western Kentucky (31-24). ... South Alabama's offense, which averages 30 points and 447.2 yards per game, features the quarterback tandem of senior Ross Metheny and junior Brandon Bridge. Metheny (6-3, 205, Sr.) has thrown for 1,065 yards and five touchdowns and rushed for 221 yards and six more scores, while Bridge (6-5, 220, Jr.) has thrown for 378 yards and rushed for 155 while producing a pair of TDs. Both have played in each game this season. ... Junior Jay Jones (5-9, 190) is the team's leading rusher (54 carries for 279 yards, 2 TDs), while junior tight end Wes Saxton (6-4, 240) leads four receivers with over 15 catches and 200 yards. ... Defensively, the Jaguars are allowing 30 points and 406.4 yards per game. They are led by 6-foot-1, 210-pound junior LB Maleki Harris (4 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 INT) and 6-2, 280-pound DT Romelle Jones (6.5 TFL, 41⁄2 sacks).
The Flashes return to Ladd-Peebles Stadium, where they played their first bowl game in 40 years last season. They fell to Arkansas State 17-13 in the GoDaddy.com Bowl on Jan. 6. ... Kent State limps into its fifth road game in the past six weeks without starting quarterback Colin Reardon (ankle) and starting punter/kicker Anthony Melchiori (hamstring). Star senior defensive tackle Roosevelt Nix is also questionable due to a back injury, while several other key performers are expected to play through injuries. ... Senior David Fisher will get his first start at quarterback after serving as the Flashes' backup for the past two seasons. Fisher (6-1, 220) has completed 21-of-39 passes for 318 yards and one touchdown with one interception in 13 games at KSU. ... Kent State's five losses this season have come to teams with a combined record of 27-6 (Bowling Green 5-2, Penn State 4-2, LSU 6-1, Ball State 6-1, Northern Illinois 6-0). ... After struggling to run the football during non-league losses at LSU and Penn State, the Flashes are averaging 215.3 yards on the ground over the past three games. Junior running back Trayion Durham, KSU's leading rusher (124 carries for 493 yards, 4.0 ypc, 3 TDs) has rushed for 313 yards over that three-game span. ... Junior Chris Humphrey, the Flashes' leading receiver (36-433, 3 TDs), set career highs with nine catches for 106 yards last week at Ball State. ... KSU senior speedster Dri Archer has had his moments since returning from an ankle injury Sept. 28 at Western Michigan, scoring a touchdown in each of the last three games, but is averaging just 70.2 all-purpose yards per game. ... Kent State's offense is averaging 18.9 points and 336 yards per game, but those numbers rise to 26.7 points and 417 yards over the past three outings since Archer and senior guard Pat McShane returned to the lineup. Meanwhile its defense is allowing 29.9 points and 466.1 yards per contest. ... After going four games without forcing a defensive turnover dating back to last season, the KSU defense has notched eight takeaways in the last 14 quarters. ... Senior strong safety Luke Wollet leads the Flashes with 58 tackles, while Nix has seven tackles for a loss and five QB hurries.
-- Allen Moff