Central Michigan vs. Kent State prediction and game preview. The Chippewas look to bounce back from a road loss when they host the Golden Flashes on Saturday.
Central Michigan vs. Kent State Game Preview
When: Saturday, Oct. 29 – Noon ET
Where: Kelly/Shorts Stadium, Mount Pleasant, Mich.
TV Broadcast: CBS Sports Network
Central Michigan’s two losses in conference play have come against the MAC’s top teams, and not coincidentally, quarterback Cooper Rush has played his two worst games of the season in those contests. The Chippewas fell to 5-3 on the year with last week’s 31-17 loss to Toledo, dropping 1.5 games back of the Rockets and two behind West division leader Western Michigan, who crushed them by 39 points on Oct. 1.
Facing 2-6 Kent State shouldn’t be as tough of a challenge, though the Golden Flashes have lost three MAC games by a combined 12 points. Nick Holley has started the last four games with Mylik Mitchell out for the season due to an injury and is bigger threat to run the ball than throw it. Kent State ranks near the top of the conference in rush attempts per game.
What To Know About Central Michigan
Rush’s 286.1 yards per game ranks since in the MAC behind Toledo’s Logan Woodside, but his 34.3 pass attempts per contest lead the conference. The Chippewas like to air it out, and Rush will need to have a better performance in a crucial game in they want to have any chance of winning the division. Rush’s 229 yards last week were his second-fewest of the season behind the 178 he finished with against Western Michigan. He did have a 20-yard touchdown run, but his passing is what will lead the Chippewas to a victory.
Defensively, Central Michigan ranks fourth in the conference against the run, and its nine rushing touchdowns allowed are tied for the second-fewest in the MAC. It will need to be prepared for Holley’s ability to scramble and also provide yardage on designed runs.
What To Know About Kent State
Holley is the MAC’s fifth-leading rusher averaging 78.9 yards per, and his eight touchdown runs are second in the conference. He’s run for at least 84 yards in each of his four starts and ran 41 times for 159 yards and touchdown in last week’s 14-10 loss to Ohio. Despite Holley’s ability to run the ball, drives often stall out, possibly because of Kent State’s one-dimensional offense. It’ll need to put points on the board early.
The defense has kept the Golden Flashes in games. They forced three turnovers last week and have 14 takeaways on the season, but the offense more often than not hasn’t been able to keep the defense off the field long enough.
Offense: Central Michigan – Rush has the ability to take over a game, and Corey Willis is one of his favorite targets.
Defense: Kent State – It ranks second in the MAC in total defense, but it’ll need to prevent CMU from scoring early so Holley isn’t forced to throw.
Special Teams: Kent State – The Chippewas have made only 4 of 10 field goals this season.
Coaching: Central Michigan – Golden Flashes coach Paul Haynes could be on the hot seat as he struggles through his fourth straight subpar season.
Intangibles: Central Michigan – Rush threw for 337 yards and a touchdown in last year’s 27-14 win over Kent State.
Matchup To Watch
Holley vs. Central Michigan’s defense
The Chippewas know what’s coming, it’s just a matter if they can stop it. But preventing Holley from running might come down to how far ahead they can get early to put Holley in the awkward position of having to throw more often than run.
Spread: Central Michigan -15
Central Michigan vs. Kent State Prediction
Rush throws for three touchdowns and helps Central Michigan get ahead early as Holley is forced to go to the air more often than he’d like as the Chippewas earn the victory.
Central Michigan vs. Kent State final score prediction: Central Michigan 38, Kent State 17.