Game Preview - vs. Kent State
by Brian "Where's the Ice?"
This week, the Virginia Tech Hokies will take on the Kent State Golden Flashes. Kent State plays out of the MAC (Mid-American Conferenc) against teams that have made non-conference games for the Hokies many seasons back including Central Michigan, Western Michigan, Akron, and Miami of Ohio who actually handed Virginia Tech a season devastating loss not too many seasons ago.
You may remember an incident from history class where the National Guard shot four protester students in 1970. Since then, their football program hasn't gone uphill very much at all until this season. In season's past, they haven't compiled many winning records at all. They've struggled with a bad reputation that hurt their recruiting potency, a dilapidated training facility, and players loosing 25 lbs. over a single season. So getting themselves to opening with a 5-2 overall record and 4-0 conference record makes for quite an improvement. They look to reach their first bowl appearance since 1972.
So who's who of the Kent State? Quarterback Julian Edelman has passed for 1490 yards this season with 8 touchdown passes and a 56% completion rate. He's made a name for himself as a dark horse player in that no Division I schools would recruit him. Coach Doug Martin says that he channels the frustration to that in to his play and does so very well. Kent State has one primary go-to receiver in Najah Pruden who has 657 yards of receiving which includes five touchdown receptions. College Football pundits have projected the 6'3" 185 lbs senior to amass nearly 900 yards of receiving by the season’s end. As far as their rushing game, Edelman himself leads the team in carries with 140 and nearly leads the team in rushing with 589 yards. Kent State also has a strong tailback in Eugene Jarvis who despite his small size of 5'5" and 158 lbs. has accrued 592 yards over 120 carries this season.
Kent's defense ranks first in the MAC for passing, but they don't have quite so hot numbers in their rushing defense allowing 1390 yards. Branden Ore shouldn't have any problem further extending his numbers for this season.
The Hokies need to enter this game, not overconfident, but aiming to make some development in areas that they're lacking. Besides the struggling and inexperienced offense line, I've seen one of their most significant shortcomings in quarterback Sean Glennon's lack of ability to make use of the Hokie wide receivers. Virginia Tech has a great deal of depth at the receiver position in Eddie Royal, Josh Morgan, David Clowney, and Justin Harper, and I haven't seen the level of synchronization between Glennon and them that I think they can attain. The Hokies need to take advantage of an opportunity to develop that synchronization in their game against Kent State. Furthermore, backup quarterback Ike Whitaker should have an opportunity to take some snaps as well.
Some Hokie trivia for this week
* The ACC has named Xavier Adibi as ACC Defensive Linemen of the Week
* Virginia Tech could acheive 25 straight wins against non-conference teams at Lane Stadium
* Branden Ore places 10th in Virginia Tech's football history to rush for 1000 yards in a single season
* Virginia Tech's passing defense ranks first in the nation
Kent State (5-4, 4-2)
Virginia Tech (7-2, 4-2)
Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, VA
3:30 p.m. EDT, Saturday, Nov 11
Television - ESPNU