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Penn State Football: Previewing The Opponent: Kent State

by on September 02, 2016 2:00 PM

The wait is finally over as Penn State opens the 2016 season this weekend in a sunny State College against the Kent State. The Golden Flashes went 3-9 last year with victories over UMass, Delaware State and Miami of Ohio. That season marked a one win improvement over Kent State's 2-9 campaign just a year prior.

Kent State is led by Paul Haynes in his fourth season at the helm with a 9-26 record overall. Penn State is 4-0 against the Golden Flashes having outscored Kent State 58-0 over the past two games and the Nittany Lions haven't given up more than 10 points in the past four meetings.

Here is what you need to know about Penn State's Week 1 opponent.

The Offense:

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Kent State plans on playing three quarterbacks this weekend with Justin Agner taking over before yielding to Mylik Mitchell and George Bollas later on the in the game. The Golden Flashes start four upperclassmen on the offensive line while freshman running back Justin Rankin will take over duties in the run game. Out wide it's the junior duo of Kris White and Nick Holley in the slot bringing down the passes while fifth year senior tight end Brice Fackler rumbles around with his 6-foot-3, 244 pound frame.

The Defense:

Defensively the Golden Flashes are anchored by Nate Holley, Demetrius Monday and Terence Waugh. The junior cornerback Monday finished seventh in the nation in total interceptions with six and had two defensive touchdowns on the year last season. Safety Nate Holley has ranked in the nation's top five in tacklers per game in 2014 and 2015 ending upon All-Mac First Team honors the past two seasons. He made 15 or more tackles in six of the last nine games. Rounding out the group is defensive end Terence Waugh who finished seventh in the nation in sacks per game last year with (.90) per year.

The Player To Watch:

Demetrius Monday will be the player to watch this weekend as Trace McSorley gets comfortable under center. It's safe to assume Saquon Barkley and Nate Holley will cross paths, but with defensive touchdowns under his belt and an eye for jumping routes, if the upset is on it'll likely be because of a few defensive plays by the Golden Flashes. That makes Monday a prime candidate for the big momentum swinging play if Kent State is going to put Penn State on the ropes.

The Prediction:

There might be a few bumps in the road this week as Penn State's offense hits the ground running, as fast as it can, but the Nittany Lions are the better team and unless something strange happens this shouldn't be a true test for Penn State. 34-3 seems like a safe bet.



Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for StateCollege.com. He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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