Two teams who have hardly been seen by anyone will have the stage all to themselves when the Kent State Golden Flashes take on the Arkansas State Red Wolves in the GoDaddy.com Bowl. Al Dannity is really excited and thinks you should be too.
Christmas is over yet this may be the best surprise present of them all. There are games in the bowl schedule from which we all expect fireworks, then there are the well-kept secrets. Idaho’s wild win in the Humanitarian Bowl in 2009 was probably the best of these in recent memory. This year’s GoDaddy.com Bowl has the potential to surpass that.
In the MACtion corner it’s Kent State. Having recorded arguably their finest season ever, the Golden Flashes came up just short in the MAC Championship game. That cost them a trip to the BCS but it won’t cost the rest of us another chance to see Dri Archer in action. Just in case you haven’t heard of this phenom, you are in for a real treat. There may be no more electrifying player in the open field today. Archer can excite in ways that surpass even De’Anthony Thomas. Against the Red Wolves, he faces an opponent with a decent defence but not one used to a player of his calibre. Playing in a small school means Archer rarely gets the national spotlight but now that he’s got it, he will be sure to put on a show for everyone watching.
Yet this game is not all about the Golden Flashes. Representing the Sun Belt, it’s back-to-back conference champions Arkansas State. Hugh Freeze left for Ole Miss a year ago and was replaced by Gus Malzahn. The offensive wizard ensured the Red Wolves didn’t miss a beat and turned them into a small-school juggernaut. They enter this bowl match-up on a seven game winning streak and will be in no mood to end it now. With the 21st best scoring offence in the game, the Red Wolves will ensure this is a shootout from the start. While favouring the run, this team can air it out. Despite Malzahn’s departure for Auburn, they remain a formidable outfit and one hungry for a first bowl win since returning to the FBS ranks.
In a game I expect to be defined by offence, and lots of it, keeping errors to a minimum will count for far more than defence. The Flashes have shown they can go toe-to-toe with the best of them but Arkansas State’s discipline in taking apart Middle Tennessee State really stood out to me. It’s going to be close in the best of ways but I see the Red Wolves winning.