Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
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'Fresh, energetic' Kent to meet Falcons


BGSU's Anthon Samuel, averaging 100.57 yards per game, showed post-concussive symptoms earlier this week and is probable today.

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BOWLING GREEN -- Last Saturday, while the Bowling Green State University football team was springing an upset on Temple, the Falcons' opponent Saturday was resting.

And the "bye" week couldn't have been better timed for Kent State, which is 1-6 overall and 0-3 in the Mid-American Conference as it hosts BG (4-4, 2-2) at Dix Stadium on Saturday starting at 1 p.m.

"Based on where we are, the bye came at a great time," KSU coach Darrell Hazell said. "It gave us a chance to step back, take a deep breath, and refocus. It gave our players a chance to miss football.

"When they came back, our players were fresh and energetic. They were dialed in at practice."

There also were changes in store for the Golden Flashes, who enter this contest ranked last among 120 FBS schools with just 180.57 yards of total offense and 10.71 points per game. Kent State did some shuffling on the offensive line, and there is the potential that redshirt freshman Cedric McCloud will start at quarterback in place of junior Spencer Keith.

"I'm sure [Hazell] did something to get their attention, to make sure they knew nobody's job is safe," Bowling Green coach Dave Clawson said. "I think usually that results in a more inspired team and a better effort.

"I'm sure we're going to get their very best."

That's especially true with the KSU defense, which returns the MAC defensive player in Roosevelt Nix. This season the 244-pound sophomore has 10 tackles for loss among his 25 tackles.

"They are a great defense," senior center Ben Bojicic said. "They all play with a high motor, and Nix is a great player.

"Even with his [relatively small] size, he's a great player. We have to come out and really perform as an offense against them."

The Golden Flashes have struggled against the run, ranking 101st among FBS schools in rushing defense by allowing 197.13 yards per game. But the Falcons' run game has a little uncertainty of its own because of their situation at running back, where true freshman Anthon Samuel ranks third in the MAC with his 100.57 yards per game.

Samuel was showing post-concussive symptoms earlier in the week, although Clawson said the native of Opa Locka, Fla., is probable for the game. His backups are sophomore Jordan Hopgood, who also has been slowed by injuries, and redshirt freshman Jamel Martin.

One thing none of the Falcons have forgotten was last season's game. Kent State demolished the Falcons 30-6 at Doyt Perry Stadium, limiting BG to minus-10 yards rushing and 135 yards of total offense while scoring 27 first-half points.

"Their record [this year] doesn't mean anything," sophomore rover BooBoo Gates said. "They beat us 30-6 last year, and that's all we're looking at.

"We have to get payback from them. We have to play [against them] like we play against anybody else."

Contact John Wagner at: jwagner@theblade.com or 419-724-6481 or on Twitter @jwagnerblade.

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