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Place: High Points Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, New Jersey
Rutgers takes three weekends off from the Big East battles at home, starting with a tussle against red-hot Kent State on Saturday.
The 15th-ranked Scarlet Knights, one of 11 unbeaten teams in the nation, have three difficult league games remaining after taking on the Golden Flashes and then Army on Nov. 10.
Rutgers can improve to 8-0 for the fourth time in the program’s 143 years, but high-scoring Kent State has won five straight and is off to its best start since 1973.
However, Kent State steps up in class. The Flashes’ six victories are against teams with a combined record of 14-30 and they also lost to Kentucky (1-7). Rutgers sports a balanced offense and is third nationally in both scoring and rushing defense. Kent State running back Dri Archer, who leads the nation in all-purpose yards per game, will present a big challenge.
Kent State Golden Flashes (6-1, 4-0 MAC): The Golden Flashes have scored 41 points or more in four games, equaled only by the 1954 team, and produced 31 offensive plays of 20 or more yards.
Archer has rushed for 687 yards, averaging 10.1 per carry, and caught 20 passes. Archer has scored 11 touchdowns and thrown for another.
Trayion Durham has also run for 649 yards for the Golden Flashes, who have averaged 261.2 rushing in the last three games. Quarterback Spencer Keith has completed 55.6 percent of his passes, helping Kent average 33.7 points. Roosevelt Nix has 11.5 tackles for loss, ranking among the top 15 in the nation per game.
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (7-0, 4-0 Big East): Jawan Jamison leads the Big East in rushing with six 100-yard performances and sophomore quarterback Gary Nova continues to improve. Nova has 15 touchdown passes, 11 in the last four games, and only three interceptions.
He has also been sacked only four times, spreading the ball around to six receivers with at least 12 receptions. Brandon Coleman, Tim Wright and Mark Harrison combine for 75 catches, 944 yards and 10 touchdowns. Seven different players have at least one of the Scarlet Knights’ 13 interceptions. Linebacker Khaseem Greene leads the way with 67 tackles and 3.5 sacks.
1. Both teams have forced 20 turnovers, tying for ninth in the nation.
2. Rutgers has won both previous meetings, the last in 2004.
3. Kent State coach Darrell Hazell was an assistant at Rutgers from 2001-03.