FACTS & STATS: Site: Alumni Stadium (44,500) -- Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Kent St 1-0, BC 1-0. Away Record: Kent St 0-0, BC 0-0. Neutral Record: Kent St 0-0, BC 0-0. Conference Record: Kent St 0-0, BC 0-0. Series Record: BC leads, 2-0.
Kent State opened its season with a 41-10 triumph over Murray State last Thursday night. The Golden Flashes were happy to have running back Eugene Jarvis back in the starting lineup after his 2009 season was wiped out by a kidney laceration. This contest marks the beginning of a brutal three-game road stretch for Kent State, which continues next week at Penn State and then at Miami-Ohio in the MAC opener.
Boston College won its season opener this past Saturday in a 38-20 victory over Weber State. The home crowd was ignited by the return of Eagles linebacker and cancer survivor Mark Herzlich, the 2008 ACC Defensive Player of the Year who missed last season while undergoing treatment for Ewing's Sarcoma cancer, then missed a portion of the offseason with a stress fracture in his right foot. The Eagles are home for their first four games to start the season, with No. 10 Virginia Tech and Notre Dame coming to town in the coming weeks.
BC has won both meetings in the all-time series with Kent State, including a 34-7 win at home last season.
Kent State sophomore quarterback Spencer Keith was sharp against Murray State, throwing for a career-high three touchdowns and finished with 275 yards on 24- of-35 passing. Jarvis opened the scoring with a six-yard touchdown run four minutes into the game, however there weren't a whole lot of running lanes. Jarvis finished with just 45 yards on 11 carries, with 20 coming on one tote. As a team, the Flashes managed just 3.5 yards per carry. Still, they were able to pick up chunks of yards in the passing game. Sam Kirkland made nine grabs for 126 yards and a touchdown, while Jacquise Terry had a pair of TD receptions and finished with 73 yards.
The Kent State defense returned a lot of speed in the front seven, and that speed was on full display last weekend. The Racers were simply outmatched at the point of attack, as Kent State held them to minus-65 yards rushing as a team. The Flashes also limited Murray State to 3-of-18 on third downs in addition to notching five sacks. Two of those sacks were registered by Monte Simmons, who led the team with eight sacks a year ago. Brian Lainhart led the way with nine tackles in the week-one victory.
The Boston College offense got off to a shaky start last weekend, as the Eagles were called for a delay of game before the first snap, which was immediately followed by quarterback Dave Shinskie throwing an interception at the BC 20. However, the Eagles regrouped quickly, and Shinskie guided the offense to touchdown drives on the next three possessions to grab a 21-3 lead. It was an up-and-down performance for Shinskie, as he tossed a pair of picks and completed only 10-of-20 passes, but also averaged 18.5 yards per completion. Montel Harris powered the ground game, rushing for 115 yards on 19 carries. Harris will be the focal point of the offense after rushing for 1,457 yards and 14 TDs last year as a sophomore.
The atmosphere at Alumni Stadium was buzzing last weekend with the return of star linebacker Herzlich, who had five tackles in limited duty as he works his way back into football shape. Weber State was able to move the ball somewhat easily against BC, as the Wildcats racked up 24 first downs and held a 15- minute edge in time of possession. Senior cornerback DeLeon Gause broke the game open with a 66-yard interception return at the 3:20 mark of the third quarter, which gave the Eagles a 38-13 lead. Still, they'll need to tighten up this week against Keith and the Kent State passing game.
BC's opening weekend victory was largely uninspiring despite the final score. The defense struggled to get off the field against an FCS squad, but it could be a wakeup call for the Eagles to refocus and come out sharper on that side of the ball. Obviously, Montel Harris will provide a much bigger challenge for the Kent State defense than what it faced last week.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Boston College 34, Kent State 17
Saturday, September 11th, 3:30 p.m. (et).