Kent St Golden Flashes 2023 College Football Preview
June 16, 2023
Record – 5-7
ATS – 4-7 (vs FBS)
FLASH FAST went into the campaign with legitimate hopes of winning the MAC East and it looked good after the conference opener when they took down eventual division champs Ohio (W 31-24). Sadly, Kent St lost three of their next four MAC games and the season essentially went GLUG GLUG GLUG down the tubes. They finished with a disappointing record of 5-7 but it’s noteworthy that they had a comically-difficult out-of-conference road schedule (at Oklahoma, at Washington, at Georgia).
Let’s see what new HC Kenni Burns has to work with as we head into the 2023 season.
Kent St Golden Flashes 2023 Outlook
After averaging an impossible 49.8 PPG and leading the FBS (!) in scoring offense during the 2020 SCAMDEMIC season, FLASH FAST averaged 33 PPG in 2021 and a mere 28 PPG last year. It’s essentially a total rebuild on offense and job #1 will be finding an adequate QB. Tommy Ulatowski appears to have a leg up on the competition for the starting gig but he only threw 11 passes LY. We’ll keep an eye on the competition over the summer and see if someone else emerges as the potential starter. Kent St’s 1-2 punch at RB looks good with the addition of Kansas transfer Ky Thomas and the return of Xavier Williams who rushed for 812 yards (3 TD) in 2021. And don’t sleep on RB Gavin Garcia who averaged 6.0 YPC in limited action LY and looked good during the spring game. There’s a yuuuge void to fill at WR as almost all of last year’s key contributors are no longer with the program. That includes the duo of Devontez Walker and Dante Cephas (combined 1,665 yards, 14 TD LY). Anything can happen, but it seems at first glance that they’ll struggle in the THROW GAME. It doesn’t get much better when you consider that the vast majority of the TWO DEEP on the offensive line needs to be replaced. They’ve got some talent at RB but this appears to be one of the weakest offenses in the MAC.
Kent St was mediocre vs the run LY (160 YPG, #8 MAC) and worse vs the pass (2nd last MAC, 70%, 23-7 TD to INT). There’s plenty of rebuilding to do on this side of the football but there’s a bit of hope at every level of the defense. DT CJ West is rock solid up front, they’ve got a senior-laden LB corps, and a bunch of pieces from the transfer portal come to town to help CB DJ Miller on the back end. Kent St booked 26 sacks LY (#8 MAC) and we worry a lot about where the PENETRATION is gonna come from this season. We expect the stop unit to struggle more often than not but hopefully the offense will operate at a slower tempo and try and grind out a few more drives. The defense can’t be on the field as much as LY (#124 time-of-possession) or things will get ugly.
They’ve got continuity in the kicking game with the return of punter Josh Smith (40.3) and PK Andrew Glass who hit 17/26 FGA LY after going 21/28 in 2021. They’ll miss Ja’Shaun Poke on KR (29.4 LY).
Overall – They’ve got three BODY BAG games in non-conference play (at UCF, at WOO PIG, at Fresno St) but at least they miss Toledo from the West division. Central Connecticut should be a win and hopefully they can cobble together a win or two in MACtion.
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at Fresno St (Sept 23)
This will be a trip out west and their 3rd road game in four to start the campaign. MAC play is on deck (Miami Ohio) so we don’t expect to be playing the yuuuge road underdog on this occasion.
Season Win Total
Market consensus June 16 (wide range of prices are available)
Over 2.5 -110
Under 2.5 -110
We were hoping to see a “3” or “3.5” in the marketplace but it looks like that was wishful thinking. Those would have been good numbers to go “under” in our estimation. Going “under” 2.5 is a bit risky given that two MAC victories almost certainly gets them to three wins. Anything can happen in MACtion, especially in those nasty mid-week November games.
This year marks the 53rd anniversary of the May 4, 1970 campus shooting that resulted in the death of four students who were protesting the Vietnam War and the presence of the National Guard on campus.
It figures to be a long rebuilding season for Kent St. They rank dead last in the country in terms of returning production and were absolutely decimated by the transfer portal. The best that new HC Kenni Burns can hope for is probably two or three wins and a team that shows improvement over the course of the season. In any event, go Golden Flashes!