Stay tuned to RadioAlabama Sports as Noah Gardner breaks down each of Auburn football’s 2019 opponents leading up to the season opener. Follow Noah on Twitter at @PointGuardner.
Game History: There are no previous meetings.
Grading the Golden Flashes:
2018 Team Stats: 2-10 (1-7)
RYPG: 172 (4.2)
SKS allowed: 43
TO DIFF: -1
RYPG allowed: 220 (4.9)
PYPG allowed: 247
Offensive Impact Player: QB Woody Barrett (#15)
2018 stats: 2,339 YDS, 58.7 PCT, 11 TD, 9 INT, 503 YDS, 3.1 YPC, 7 TD
Woody Barrett helped transform the Kent State offense as it shifted to a faster pace. The former Auburn quarterback provides a dual-threat option for the Golden Flashes. Neither his passing nor his rushing numbers jump off the page, but Barrett is still the most important player in the Kent State offense. With a year of experience under his belt, Barrett and the Kent State offense could see major improvement from its dismal 2018 season.
Defensive Impact Player: CB Jamal Parker (#7)
2018 stats: 83 TKL, 1 TFL, 7 PBU, 2 INT, 1 FR
The team leader in interceptions, Jamal Parker is the senior leader of the Kent State defensive backfield. Third on the team in tackles, Parker is an influence stopping the run as well. In addition to playing cornerback, Parker returns kicks for the Golden Flashes, averaging 30.1 yards per return.
Offensive Key Unit: Wide-receivers
Kent State returns its top three receivers, totaling 1,552 yards and 10 touchdowns. None of the three are great downfield threats with two of the receivers shorter than 5 feet 10 inches and the highest average per reception at 13.3. Nonetheless, you can’t ignore the production, and Barrett will have three experienced options to connect with in 2019.
Defensive Key Unit: Defensive backs
Kent State allowed 36.7 points per game in 2018, so there aren’t a lot of bright spots when examining its defense. Nonetheless, the Golden Flash have an experienced defensive backfield, returning both cornerbacks and a safety. Among those three players, Kent State returns 215 tackles, 20 pass breakups and three interceptions. With a little improvement in its pass defense, the Kent State defense will see a better year as a whole in 2019.