2011 Record: (5-7, 4-4 in MAC)
Head Coach: Darrell Hazell (second year head coach)
Last Bowl Game: 1972 Tangerine Bowl: lost to Tampa 21-18
Big Name Opponents: 9/8 at Kentucky, 10/27 at Rutgers
Must Win: 8/30 vs Towson, 9/19 at Buffalo, 11/3 vs Akron
Revenge: 11/10 at Miami (OH), 11/23 vs Ohio
Stat to Cheer: +1.00 turnover margin (#2 in the MAC)
Stat to Fear: converted just 28% of third downs (116th in Nation) and 25% in losses (115th)
Phil Steele's Returning Starters (Offense: 8; Defense: 6; Specialists: 1)
Key Defensive Returnees: LB Luke Batton (102 tackles), LB C.J. Malauulu (83 tackles), DE Jake Dooley (5 sacks), S Luke Wollet (4 INTs)
Key Offensive Returnees: QB Spencer Keith (11 TD, 8 INT), RB Trayion Durham (630 yds, 4 TD)
It's been eleven years since Kent State posted a winning record. Prior to that you have to go back all the way to 1987 to find the last winning season for the Golden Flashes. Last year, Kent State started out 1-6 but finished strong by winning four of it's last five games. Kent State had an interesting combination last year of a very good defense and a very bad offense.
Can they compete with Ohio and Miami (OH) in the MAC East? That's up to the offense. I expect Kent State to field a defense that is similiar to last years squad. Can some of the young players on offense turn that side of the football around? That's the big question mark. I think Kent State will improve but not quite enough to make a run at the MAC East. It wouldn't shock me to see them in a bowl game but I'm not sure they are quite ready to take that step.
2012 Prediction: 6-6
Previous 2012 Previews: