Kent State (1-1) at (8) LSU (2-0)|
Saturday, September 14, 7 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Nicholas DeLorenzo, Associate College Football Editor
GAME NOTES: The eighth-ranked LSU Tigers continue their three-game homestand
on Saturday night, as they entertain the Kent State Golden Flashes.
Although Kent State opened its season with a win over Liberty on Aug. 29, it
was hardly an impressive affair, as it managed to defeat the FCS squad by just
seven points (17-10). That disappointing effort carried over into the Golden
Flashes' first Mid-American Conference bout with Bowling Green last weekend,
as they dropped the contest on their home field, 41-22.
"It didn't end the way we wanted it," Kent State head coach Paul Haynes said
of the matchup with Bowling Green. "But there was a lot of good things on film
that we can build upon. We've got a long season to go. We've licked our
wounds, and now we'll move forward and get ready for LSU."
LSU's season started off with a primetime showing against nationally-ranked
TCU, and the Tigers came through with an outstanding 37-27 win to assert
themselves as one of the top teams in the nation. They further solidified
their elite status in their home opener last week by dismissing UAB, 56-17.
"It's nice to have a game where you really distance yourself from your
opponent and you play quality football for the most part for four quarters,"
LSU head coach Les Miles said. "I think we can improve. We're 2-0, and I'm
looking forward to the next contests."
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between these two football programs.
Kent State had one of the MAC's top offenses a year ago, but so far in 2013
the unit has been stuck in neutral, averaging fewer than 20 points per game
behind a meager 331.5 ypg.
The absence of its star player certainly hasn't help matters, as Dri Archer,
one of the nation's most dynamic playmakers, injured his ankle in the opener
and hasn't seen the field since. He is listed as questionable for this
Archer rushed for 1,429 yards (9.0 ypc) with 16 touchdowns last year, and in
his absence Trayion Durham (116 yards, TD) and Colin Reardon (96 yards) have
performed adequately on 54 combined carries.
Reardon's efficiency at quarterback has been strong despite the offense's slow
start. He has completed more than 64 percent of his passes for 358 yards,
tossing four touchdowns with no interceptions.
Chris Humphrey (10 receptions, 172 yards, two TDs) and Tyshon Goode (12
receptions, 99 yards) are Reardon's two most trusted receivers. Casey Pierce
has just three catches but he emerges in the red zone with two touchdowns.
The Kent State defense has done little to impress, yielding just under 400
yards and 25.5 points per game. The unit has failed to record a turnover
through the first two outings.
Matt Dellinger, Luke Wollet, DeVante Strickland and Darius Polk all have
double-digit tackles. Roosevelt Nix has 4.0 TFL and Zack Hitchens has logged a
pair of sacks.
LSU's offense has taken huge strides early on in the 2013 season (46.5 ppg,
446.5 ypg), thanks largely to the improvement of its senior signal caller.
Against UAB last week, Mettenberger became the first quarter in the program's
illustrious 120-year history to throw five touchdowns passes in a game, giving
him 533 yards (.627) on the year with six touchdowns and no interceptions.
"It's all about executing," Mettenberger said. "Around this time last year we
just weren't executing too well. There were some mistakes that we left out on
the field, but all in all, we did a very good job tonight and we can only get
better from here."
Mettenberger's step up has directly benefited Jarvis Landry (13 rec., 180
yards, three TDs) and Odell Beckham, Jr. (10 rec., 254 yards, three TDs), both
of whom have made several spectacular plays. It's strictly a two-man show at
receiver, however, as no other player has more than two catches.
The Tigers have a stable of impressive rushers to turn to in the backfield.
Terrence Magee leads the team with 102 yards and a pair of scores, while
Alfred Blue (97 yards) and Kenny Hilliard (62 yards, TD) have also been
effective. After serving a suspension in the opener, Jeremy Hill returned last
week to rack up 50 yards and a score on just six carries.
As far as the defense in concerned, the Tigers have given up a few more points
than they are used to (22.0 ppg), but in terms of yardage allowed they have
been outstanding (277.5 ypg).
Jermauria Rasco leads the team in total tackles (11), tackles for loss (1.5)
and sacks (1.5). Jalen Mills has two passes defended as well as the team's
If Archer can suit up for this game, his playmaking ability will surely cause
the LSU defense a few headaches, but regardless of his status, the Tigers
should have very little problem dismissing a Kent State squad that has failed
to show any signs of repeating its 2012 success when it went 11-3. Expect
Mettenberger and his two stud receivers to hook up for some big plays in this
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: LSU 38, Kent State 17
09/11 10:38:07 ET