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ASU Football Opponent Primer: Kent State Golden Flashes

A good way to get into the swing of things

NCAA Football: Kent State at Mississippi Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona State 2019 Schedule

Kent State (Aug. 29)

Sacramento State (Sept. 6)

At Michigan State (Sept. 14)

Colorado (Sept. 21)

At Cal (Sept. 27)

Washington State (Oct. 12)

At Utah (Oct. 19)

At UCLA (Oct. 26)

USC (Nov. 9)

At Oregon State (Nov. 16)

Oregon (Nov. 23)

Arizona (Nov. 30)

Kent State 2018 Season:

Kent State’s 2018 season can be described as “forgettable” and the numbers show. Last year, the Golden Flashes finished last in their division and capped the season with another 2-10 record. The Golden Flashes did manage to gain their first win in the second week of play, but would go on to lose six-straight until obtaining their second -- and final win -- of the season.

Key Returners:

QB Woody Barrett: As a former Auburn commit, Woody Barrett is the unquestioned centerpiece to Kent State’s offense. As a passer, he can give a team yards on every given night. In addition, he’s a secondary threat as a runner who can gain yards when it’s time to play. He threw for 2,339 yards in 2018 and will likely replicate those stats, or go over that number heading into his junior year.

S Elvis Hines: Hines is a solid defender at the safety position who can also be a disrupter for teams who don’t do their research on him. In 2018, he played 11 games, and in football durability is something Kent State needs if they want to improve off their past-two seasons. In his sophomore year, Hines recorded an interception, 41 total tackles, and seven passes defended. He has gotten progressively better for the Golden Flashes from year to year, and will be a player teams should be looking out for.

Biggest Losses:

RB Justin Rankin: He was a two-way running back who could run for almost five yards per game while averaging nine yards when receiving. In his sophomore year, he lead the team in receptions and was seen as a reliable option for an offense that was below average.

LB Jim Jones: Although Jones declined in play from his junior year, where he tallied 98 total tackles and 6 sacks, he was a solid defender for Kent State in his senior year. In 2018, the linebacker only missed two games and recorded 47 total tackles on the season. Jones was reliable in the secondary and leaves the Golden Flashes nearing a season that could be lacking defensive prowess.

Reasons Why ASU Can Win: Arizona State’s defense has a stature built to outshine the Golden Flashes come opening night. LB Merlin Robertson was a steal for ASU last year. Aside him will also be the likes of Cornerbacks Chase Lucas and Kobe Williams. The Sun Devils’ offense will come out swinging. With guys like Eno Benjamin who can run the ball effectively, and receivers like Kyle Williams and Brandon Aiyuk looking to fill the void of N’Keal Harry (who was drafted 32nd by the New England Patriots), there’s little room for failure.

Reasons Why ASU Can Lose: Unless the Sun Devils happen to miss a goodnight’s rest, this is hard to picture. However, the Sun Devils have had games in the past where they have fallen short even to the worst of teams. Inconsistency has plagued Arizona State for sometime these past few seasons and there have been situations, especially early in games where ASU has a hard time striving for momentum.