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Kent State Golden Flashes vs. Ohio Bobcats Preview and Prediction

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After beginning the 2015 season 5-1, the Ohio Bobcats have now dropped three consecutive games. They currently sit at 5-4 (2-3 MAC), needing one more win to become bowl eligible.

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Kent State (3-6, 2-3 MAC) comes into this Tuesday night tilt with a two-game losing streak of its own. The Golden Flashes' season has been a disappointing one so far, losing both close games and blowouts while recording wins over only MAC bottom-feeders and one FCS school. They too would like to get bowl eligible to salvage their season, but will need to win out in order to do so.

Kent State at Ohio

Kickoff: 7 p.m. ET (Tuesday)

Channel: ESPNU

Spread: Ohio -7

Three Things to Watch

1. Can Kent State move the ball?

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The Golden Flashes have had a difficult time scoring pointing and gaining yards all season, whether through the air or on the ground. Their best bet will be to set the tempo early on the road with a consistent run game. The issue will be finding the one guy who will step up and be the bell cow. Trayion Durham had slightly more success than Raekwon James in the close loss to Buffalo. One of them needs to step up and grind out the tough yards early to keep Ohio off the field.

2. Can Derrius Vick take charge?

He took care of the football against Bowling Green, but Ohio needs its leader to make plays in order to win this game. Vick is going to need to open things up and force some throws to put points on the board. Ohio's best chance is to get an early lead, as Kent State does not have the firepower to play from behind and win a shootout. Vick is listed as questionable on the injury report with an ankle injury. If for some reason, he's unable to go, J.D. Sprague would get the start.

3. Bobcats WR Sebastian Smith

Smith had 10 catches in a losing effort against Bowling Green and has been Vick's primary target all season. His 6-foot-3 frame is going to be an asset when Ohio gets in the red zone against a fairly weak Kent State secondary. Smith has decent hands and deceptive speed, which could translate into landing on an NFL roster in a couple of years.

Final Analysis

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When push comes to shove, Kent State is just a bad offensive team. The Golden Flashes are not going to be able to stay on the field long enough for their defense to gather themselves and put up a fight against Vick, Smith and a stable of capable Ohio running backs. Look for the Bobcats to get their sixth win of the season and keep their bowl hopes alive on Tuesday night.

Prediction: Ohio 27, Kent State 3

— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Scott is the editor-in-chief of KnowItAllFootball.com, a Big Ten site for Big Ten fans. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.