Frisco Bowl: A Kent State Football Q&A With Allen Moff
We get to know Utah State’s Frisco Bowl opponent, the Kent State Golden Flashes, with Allen Moff of the Record-Courier.
A surprise bowl entrant, but with plenty of talent.
The kickoff to college football’s bowl season is mere days away and the Mountain West’s seven-game slate begins with a clash between the Utah State Aggies and Kent State Golden Flashes in the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl on Friday, December 20.
It’s been a little while since the Flashes made waves on the national stage, but KSU snapped a six-year streak of losing campaigns in finishing 6-6 and hope to earn their first bowl victory ever against Jordan Love and company. To learn more about Kent State football, we reached out to Allen Moff of the Record-Courier for his insights.
Mountain West Wire: It’s been a while since many Mountain West fans thought about the Kent State Golden Flashes, so could you give us the abbreviated version of how the Sean Lewis era has unfolded and what you think propelled this year’s surge?
Allen Moff: Kent State was 3-6 and coming off three straight tough MAC losses, then erased a 21-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Buffalo on Nov. 14. The comeback featured a recovered onside kick by the kicker and a blocked punt in the final eight minutes. That win turned the season around. The Flashes wound up closing the regular season with three straight wins by a combined 14 points to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2012.
MWwire: A lot of Kent State fans are surely familiar with Utah State quarterback Jordan Love at this point, but Aggies fans probably can’t say the same about his counterpart, Dustin Crum. How would you describe Crum’s overall game and what he has done to help the Flashes succeed this season?
Moff: Crum has been the catalyst of the turnaround without question. He entered the season as the backup quarterback, earned the start in game two and wound up going 6-5 as the starter – with two of the losses coming at Auburn and Wisconsin. He runs KSU’s up-tempo offense with precision, rarely makes a mistake (2 picks in 196 pass attempts), is deceptively athletic and has been very accurate throwing the deep ball.
MWwire: How did sophomore wide receiver Isaiah McKoy end up leading the MAC in receiving yards per game in the regular season? What kind of role can we expect to see him occupy in the bowl game?
Moff: McKoy is 6-foot-3 and very fast. Crum has said he can’t overthrow McKoy, so he just heaves it as far as he can and lets McKoy go get it. They love to set up deep balls to McKoy by running shorter, hitch-type routes, then turning him loose. Each of his touchdown catches has covered over 20 yards.
MWwire: We love our specialists around here so I’d be remiss if I didn’t ask about MAC Special Teams Player of the Year Matthew Trickett. What kind of improvements did Trickett make in earning first-team all-conference honors for the second year in a row?
Moff: Trickett didn’t get many opportunities to make critical kicks last year, but he’s won three games with late field goals this year. His accuracy has improved, and his confidence is extremely high. The Flashes also led the MAC in net punting behind junior Derek Adams.
MWwire: I notice that the Flashes have been only modestly disruptive on defense in 2019, with just 58 tackles for loss and a 15.8% Stuff Rate that ranks 113th nationally. Who do you believe could have a big game to overcome that in the bowl and why?
Moff: Senior defensive end Theo Majette battled some injury issues late in the season, but should be healthy for the bowl game. He’s been Kent State’s most disruptive defender, compact and quick off the ball. The Flashes overall are very undersized up front, so stopping the run has been a major issue.
MWwire: Among the Mountain West’s seven bowl opponents, no one is a bigger underdog than Kent State. What do you think must happen for the Flashes to defy the odds and how likely do you believe that will be?
Moff: After watching the Flashes find ways to win their last three games, I certainly wouldn’t count them out. Their confidence is suddenly running at a very high level. I really don’t look at this as a David vs. Goliath type of matchup. Utah State certainly deserves to be favored, but if the Flashes keep mistakes to a minimum per usual I firmly believe they have enough weapons in all three phases to make this a competitive and entertaining football game.