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Keep an eye on: The Red Wolves' 51st-ranked rushing defense. Despite the fact that it surrendered an average of 153.3 yards per game, it improved significantly down the stretch, allowing just 79.2 per game in its final five wins. And while Archer averages nine yards per carry, he's coming off one of his most ineffective rushing performances of the season: He carried just 12 times for 15 yards in the Golden Flashes' MAC title game loss to Northern Illinois.
There are three 1,000-yard rushers in this game. Arkansas State's David Oku racked up 1,043 yards after spending 2011 completely out of football following his transfer out of Tennessee. Kent State has Trayion Durham and Dri Archer, the latter of whom was a consensus All-American at the kick return/all-purpose position. He's the first consensus honoree in Kent State history.
Kent State: Junior RB Dri Archer has been the Golden Flashes' primary playmaker, rushing for a team-high 1,352 yards and 15 touchdowns this season. The 5-foot-8, 175-pounder is also tops on the team with 35 catches for 539 yards and four touchdowns.
Arkansas State: Junior RB David Oku has had a productive season after transferring from Tennessee, rushing for 1,054 yards and 15 touchdowns. He has been the Red Wolves' workhorse, averaging nearly 20 carries per game.
The key matchup is whether Kent State can slow down the Red Wolves' passing game. The Golden Flashes ranked 11th in the MAC and 108th nationally in pass defense, allowing 276.5 yards. That could be bad news against Arkansas State quarterback Ryan Aplin, the two-time Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year who holds Sun Belt career records for total offense and passing yardage, and broke his own school record for single-season touchdowns with 23.