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September 18, 2013

Prepping for Penn State

Kent State finds itself traveling from one valley to the next.

After falling to LSU, 45-13, in Death Valley, the Golden Flashes will travel east to do battle with Penn State in State College, Pa., Saturday.

It's the second tall order facing Kent State (1-2) in as many weeks but coach Paul Haynes maintains his squad is up for the challenge.

Here's what Haynes, junior wide receiver Chris Humphrey and sophomore kicker/punter Anthony Melchiori had to say during their weekly press conference Tuesday.

LSU autopsy

After slipping into an early 21-0 hole against the Tigers in Baton Rouge, La., Kent State ultimately fell to a LSU in what was likely a mismatch from the start.

Haynes, though, was pleased with his team's poise throughout the game.

"(There was a) different look in the team, different look in our guys' eyes in the second half," Haynes said of the bout against the Tigers.

"That was the one thing we talked about -- continue to fight for 60 minutes and this team did." Perhaps equally as important is how such a game might prepare the Golden Flashes for the Nittany Lions (2-1) and Beaver Stadium.

"(It was a) tough loss. Very good football team, though," Haynes said. "But it was a great environment, a good environment for our team to get in especially going into this week going down to Penn State."

A real chance to beat Penn State?

If there was ever a week for Kent State to take down the Nittany Lions, it might be now.

After a 34-31 loss at home to Central Florida (a school similar skill, tradition, resources to the Golden Flashes), Penn State appears to be rather vulnerable heading into Saturday's matchup.

It won't, however, change how Kent State prepares this week.

"It gives us confidence but it's not going to alter the way we prepare. We're not going to prepare differently because a so-called smaller school beat Penn State," Melchiori said. "We're still going to go in with the same preparation and same mentality and just try and go in there with confidence and play the way Kent State football plays which is tough for sixty minutes." The notion of being part of an inferior breed of football teams, though, was a notion the Golden Flashes tried to dismiss.

"If the stars align, it can happen. We can beat those kinds of teams. I mean, you saw Akron and Michigan on Saturday," Melchiori said. "Akron gave Michigan a pretty good game. We need to take games like that and bring them into our own mentality and go into this game this week thinking and having the mindset we can beat these teams from the Big Ten and those other conferences like that."

Humphrey offered a similar sentiment.

"It's exciting always going to go play a bigger team that they so call," he said. "It helps us get recognition for our team and ourselves and it helps us get more mentally prepared it gets us noticed more and helps us with playing, you know, they call them bigger schools like the Big Ten."

Kent State is set to play Penn State Saturday at 3:30 p.m. at Beaver Stadium.



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