2013 GoDaddy.com Bowl picks are going to be entertaining to make this year, as we have two teams that are going to be going at it against each other in what could be an unpredictable game in the Arkansas State Red Wolves and the Kent State Golden Flashes. Join us for our GoDaddy.com Bowl keys to the game and our Kent State vs. Arkansas State predictions.
2013 GoDaddy.com Bowl: Arkansas State Red Wolves vs. Kent State Golden Flashes
2013 GoDaddy.com Bowl Location: Ladd Peebles Stadium, Mobile, AL
2013 GoDaddy.com Bowl Date/Time: Sunday, January 6th, 9:00 p.m. (ET)
2013 GoDaddy.com Bowl On TV: ESPN
Click Here For The Rest Of The 2012-13 Bowl Game Schedule And Other Bowl Game Previews
Key #1: The Red Wolves have to figure out how to run their offense without Gus Malzahn
Gus Malzahn has always been able to run a fluid offense no matter where he has gone, but his system often takes some time to install in the most efficient form. This year, the Red Wolves struggled for a few weeks, but over the course of their last seven games, they scored at least 36 points in all of those games. Of course, some of that is a matter of the fact that these games were all Sun Belt outings, and this conference really isn’t the greatest in the country. But that being said, Malzahn is now gone, and the team is going to have to run its offense without him. QB Ryan Aplin has had a heck of a lot thrown his way over the course of his career. But can he really figure out how to pass this last test without his head coach calling the shots? That might be the most important question in the GoDaddy.com Bowl.
Key #2: Dri Archer and Trayion Durham need to be monsters
It was a real miracle that the Golden Flashes were even able to stick around in the MAC Championship Game against the Northern Illinois Huskies. QB Spencer Keith only threw for 190 yards with a TD and two picks, but more importantly, RB Dri Archer and RB Trayion Durham only combined for 32 carries and 87 yards. Needless to say, that just isn’t going to cut it for a team that relies on running the ball to move up and down the field. These two combined for 29 TDs and 2,600 total rushing yards this year, not to mention the fact that they combined for over 3,000 total yards from scrimmage on the campaign. The Arkansas State defense can be had, but so too, could the NIU defense. Instead, the Huskies put together 524 total yards in the MAC Championship Game, which kept the ball away from the Flashes. Not only did that provide fewer opportunities for the two main rushers to do damage for Kent State, but when the rushing game failed to even average 2.0 yards per carry, the defense was put into some horrible spots. Kent State has to get back to its old ways to have a chance to win this game.
Key #3: Kent State’s secondary has to challenge Ryan Aplin
The one thing that the Malzahn offense did this year was keep control of the football. QB Ryan Aplin only threw four picks all season long. He wasn’t always tested by the Sun Belt defenses, but this is going to be a game where he gets his fill for sure. The Kent State defense was second in the nation in interceptions this year with 23 picks, led by DB Luke Wollet, who had four picks. The only team that had more INTs this year was the Oregon Ducks, and they have some NFL defenders, unlike Kent State. The Golden Flashes really did a remarkable job this year of thievery, as they led the MAC in total turnovers forced (38), total picks (23), and turnover margin (+21). The problem is that Arkansas State only turned the ball over a total of 14 times on the season and were a +8 for the year. The second for KSU has to figure out how to force some turnovers in this one, or it is going to be brutally tough to pull off the upset.
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