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2015 Illinois Football Opponent Preview: Kent State Golden Flashes Scouting Report

With a bit of luck, Kent State could be a darkhorse contender in the MAC.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

College football is right around the corner. It's time to forget about Tim Beckman (at least for the moment), the ongoing player mistreatment situation, and everything else that happened during Illinois' dreadful offseason. Bill Cubit and the Fighting Illini will be running out of the tunnel just five days from now -- that's exciting!

To kick off our coverage each week, we'll be posting brief scouting reports that include some basic facts about Illinois' opponents. Kent State is, obviously, the first team up. The Golden Flashes are coming off a pretty disappointing 2014, but a plethora of returning players could result in another bowl appearance.

Kent State Golden Flashes (0-0)

Head Coach: Paul Haynes (2013-Present) | Record: 6-17 (4-11)

SB Nation Affiliate: Hustle Belt (MAC site)

2014 Schedule & Results

Record: 2-9 | Adj. Record: 2-9 | Final F/+ Rk: 107
Date Opponent Opp. F/+ Rk Score W-L Percentile
Performance
Adj. Scoring
Margin
Win
Expectancy
30-Aug Ohio 106 14-17 L 39% -6.3 51%
6-Sep South Alabama 89 13-23 L 19% -20.6 7%
13-Sep at Ohio State 1 0-66 L 2% -50.0 0%
27-Sep at Virginia 39 13-45 L 8% -33.2 0%
4-Oct at Northern Illinois 69 14-17 L 29% -13.0 8%
11-Oct Massachusetts 120 17-40 L 15% -23.9 8%
18-Oct Army 121 39-17 W 78% 18.2 99%
25-Oct at Miami (Ohio) 103 3-10 L 32% -10.9 45%
4-Nov Toledo 59 20-30 L 39% -6.6 21%
12-Nov at Bowling Green 98 20-30 L 49% -0.4 63%
28-Nov Akron 105 27-24 W 60% 5.8 73%

2015 Information

Kent State will return a combined 19 starters on offense and defense in 2015. The offense isn't expected to be anything too special this year, but this team could surprise people if the defense continues to improve.

According to our friends at Hustle Belt, the five key players for Kent State in 2015 are Jordan Italiano (SS), Nate Holley (FS), Nate Terhune (DT), Colin Reardon (QB), and Anthony Melchiori (P/K).

The Flashes boast the best passing defense in the MAC. Italiano and Holley are two of the best safeties in the conference and the unit is only strengthened by cornerbacks Demetrius Monday and Najee Murray.

Colin Reardon will once again be the team's starting quarterback. The redshirt-junior already has two years of playing experience under his belt and he's coming off a sophomore campaign that saw him throw for about 2,500 yards and 14 touchdowns. The bad news? Those numbers were accompanied by 16 interceptions.

2015 Schedule

Date Opponent 2014 F/+ Rk
September 5th at Illinois 78
September 12th Delaware State NR
September 19th at Minnesota 37
September 26th Marshall 17
October 3rd Miami (Ohio) 103
October 10th at Toledo 59
October 17th at Massachusetts 120
October 24th Bowling Green 98
November 5th Bufalo 114
November 10th at Ohio 106
November 18th Central Michigan 85
November 27th at Akron 105

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