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October 10, 2012

Preview: Army

Follow KentStateReport.com on Twitter | Givler | Birmingham

Following their 41-14 road victory at Eastern Michigan, the Golden Flashes prepare to travel to Army for this weekend's showcase against the nation's top-ranked rushing offense looking to improve to 5-1. Already off to the program's best start since 1977, Kent State hopes to gain their first ever victory against the service academy; Army has won the only two meetings between the schools, including the last matchup 45-28 in November of 2010.
Kent State will be facing a blistering ground assault from the Black Knights, who at 397 yards per game on the ground, has three ball carriers who rank in the nation's top 50 in rushing yards per game. Junior tailback Raymond Maples is fifth with 134.2, sophomore Larry Dixon is 35th with 92.5 and senior quarterback Trent Steelman sits 46th with 86.2 yards per game on the ground. Kent State will rely on it's defensive front seven, led by junior Roosevelt Nix to slow down the Black Knights and force Steelman into passing situations. Army is 119th out of 120 teams in the passing game, averaging only 54 yards a game through the air.

Army (1-4) is coming off a big win against Boston College, a game that saw Army roll up a veritable mountain of yards - 595 to be exact - and knock off the Eagles with 34 points. Scoring has not been a problem for Army, they're averaging just over 24 points a game, but defense has been an issue all season. Giving up 37.2 points and 464 yards on average, Army will likely have their hands full with Kent State's multifaceted offensive approach.

Kent State's Trayion Durham, who won the MAC East Offensive Player of the Week award for his 116 yard, two touchdown performance against EMU, is averaging 20 carries per contest, and that should bode well for the Golden Flashes. Army is allowing their opponents to pick up six yards per carry this season. Kent State's dynamic kick returner-running back-wide receiver-do everything guy, Dri Archer could be looking at a career day in what's been a season full of career days. Archer's scored 11 touchdowns on the season, and leads the MAC in all-purpose yards per game with 230. He's averaging a whopping 8.8 yards per rushing attempt, with an incredibly 43% of his 71 touches this season ending in gains of more than 10 yards.

Archer has scored in each of Kent State's first five games, and has registered six scores in the past two weeks, but perhaps the biggest area that's he's impacted games - and looks to this weekend - is in the kick return game. Archer is averaging 47 yards per return on the year and has already notched three returns for touchdowns, including two 98 yard returns and a 99 yard return. Army is 115th in the country in return yards allowed per kick, and that could be a dangerous recipe for trying to beat the Flashes and Archer. Did I mention that he's also second on the Kent State team in receiving yards and catches as well?

Kent State will have their hands full, and fans on both sides should expect a fun, high scoring game that will be decided by which team is able to avoid the turnover bug. Kent State is +9 on the season in turnover margin, which is 7th in the nation; while Army at -5 is 101st.

The Skinny
Kick Off: 12:05 PM at Michie Stadium, in West Point, New York..
TV: The game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network
Radio: Kent State's new partnership with 640 WHLO and iHeartRadio means that 640 is the official home of Kent State football and basketball. Ty Linder works the booth and the game be heard on iHeartRadio on a PC, smart phone or tablet.

All-Time Series: Kent State trails the all-time series vs Army 2-0. Kent State lost in their only other trip to Michie 17-14 in overtime on 9/9/2006.

Army vs the MAC: The Black Knights have lost five straight games against MAC opponents, and are 8-13 against the conference since 2005. Four MAC teams will take on the Army this season.

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