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Rutgers-Kent State preview

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The Scarlet Knights return for homecoming

Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE

Who's afraid of Kent State? Yes, Dri Archer is an explosive multi-dimensional threat in the mold of T.Y. Hilton, or even past Kent State great Josh Cribbs. Yes, they are 6-1 in the MAC. and have a promising young coach in former Rutgers assistant Darrell Hazell. Those facts are nice, but largely illusory. If you want a good MAC team, look at Toledo, which beat Cincinnati and barely lost to Arizona. Look at Ohio, or NIU. Coasting in conference play is acceptable if you can get away with it - look at Rutgers for the strong evidence of that. In OOC play though, against BCS conference opponents, you have to bring your A game. This is a Golden Flashes team that was walloped by a bad, bad Kentucky squad, which is why it is awfully difficult today to take them seriously.

That's not a guarantee that Rutgers blows them out. Indeed, Rutgers is so conservative that they haven't blown out teams like Tulane and Howard that did not belong on the same field as RU, and were content to essentially run out the clock against UConn and Syracuse in lieu of taking on even the slightest modicum of risk. There's no guarantee that RU keeps its foot on the accelerator all game or for even a portion of the game, and the prospect of taking an opponent lightly is always a possibility. This won't be a recap of UConn 2011 where Rutgers looks past a clearly inferior opponent and pays the price. Those games cannot happen at home with this kind of talent disparity. Could the Knights sleepwalk through a quarter or two again like they did last week before turning on the jets? Sure, it's possible, although not particularly likely. This is a decent rushing team that makes a living on turnovers and special teams. Those happen to be strengths for Rutgers too, which should limit the opportunities for an upset.

Prediction: Rutgers 33, Kent State 17