Western Michigan (3-4) at Kent State (5-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 20, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Dix Stadium (20,500) -- Kent, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: WMU 3-1, KSU 2-0. Away Record: WMU 0-3, KSU 3-1. Neutral Record: WMU 0-0, KSU 0-0. Conference Record: WMU 1-2, KSU 3-0. Series Record: Western Michigan leads, 33-18-1.
GAME NOTES: The Kent State Golden Flashes look to remain perfect in league action as they host the Western Michigan Broncos at Dix Field for a Mid- American Conference battle.
The Broncos dropped to 3-4 last week as they suffered a heartbreaking 30-24 overtime loss at Ball State. After beginning the season with a 24-7 loss to Illinois, WMU has alternated wins and losses since.
Kent State picked up its fourth win in a row last week as it downed Army, 31-17, to improve to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in league action. All but one of the Golden Flashes' wins during their streak have been by double-digit margins and three have occurred away from home. A win over Western Michigan will make KSU bowl eligible just seven games into the season.
This will be the 53rd meeting in history between these programs. WMU extended its advantage to 33-18-1 in the all-time series with a 38-3 victory over KSU in 2010.
Although it has been sporadic, the WMU offense has been effective overall this season, scoring 29.3 ppg on 424.9 ypg.
Starting quarterback Alex Carder threw for 1,049 yards and eight touchdowns in the first four games, but a hand injury has kept him sidelined for the past three weeks. In his absence, Tyler Van Tubbergen has stepped in and been streaky. Van Tubbergen completed 23-of-28 attempts for 283 yards and five touchdowns in the team's triumph over UMass, but he threw multiple interceptions in both of his other starts. He has seven touchdowns to six interceptions on the season.
Jaime Wilson has been one of the MAC's busiest receiver as he is tied for the league-high with 56 catches, including five last week. He is also among the conference leaders in yards (681) and touchdowns (six). Opposite Wilson is Josh Schaffer, who has caught 29 balls for 366 yards and two scores.
Dareyon Chance (99 carries, 558 yards, two TDs) has a pair of 100-yard rushing performances in the last three games. Brian Fields offers a change of pace in the backfield, picking up 314 rushing yards and two score on 52 carries.
The defense (25.4 ppg) played tough against UMass, but it allowed 433 yards of total offense to Ball State in its most recent outing.
Johnnie Simon, Justin Currie, and Desmond Bozeman each have 40 tackles or more. The unit can create plenty of pressure on the quarterback, with Bozeman (four sacks), Deauntay Legrier (3.5 sacks) and Paul Hazel (four sacks) all charging off the line. Lewis Toler is a playmaker in the secondary with three interceptions and a pair of pass breakups.
Darrell Hazel's squad has been scoring at will in recent weeks. In its past two outings, Kent State scored 45 points versus Ball State, 41 points against Eastern Michigan, and 31 on Army behind the arm of Spencer Keith and the backfield duo of Trayion Durham and Dri Archer.
Archer (625) and Durham (525) have each rushed for over 500 yards this season while averaging more than 85 yards per game on the ground. Archer is a bit more explosive with a team-best 10.7 yards per carry and six touchdowns. Archer is also a weapon in the passing game, ranking second on the team in receptions (16) and receiving yards (225), while pulling in three of only seven passing touchdowns by Kent State this season. Archer is fifth in the FBS and first in the MAC in scoring with 12.0 ppg.
Keith has not been a prolific passer this season but has been serviceable, completing 55.7 percent of his pass attempts for 849 yards and only two interceptions to five touchdown passes. In the win over Ball State, Keith showed he could put up numbers by compiling a season-high in passing yards (295) and three touchdown passes. Keith has been able to accomplish those numbers despite facing a constant pressure due to KSU's suspect offensive line.
KSU has been improving defensively from week to week. After holding their last two opponents under 20 points, KSU is ranked fourth in the MAC in scoring defense (24.8 ppg) and third in total defense (389 ypg.).
Luke Batton is the anchor of the defense with a team-best 57 total stops. Junior DB Luke Wollet is second on the squad with 43 tackles and also has two interceptions.
Until WMU gets Carder back, its offense is going to be inconsistent. The Broncos are decent against the run (145.1 yards allowed per game), which will help against KSU, which has picked up 604 rushing total yards in its past two games. The Golden Flashes should be able to fend off the Broncos unless Van Tubbergen has a spectacular performance.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Kent State 24, Western Michigan 20
10/17 10:48:02 ET