‘No pushover at all’: Georgia not underestimating Kent State

Georgia coach Kirby Smart addresses the media Sept. 19.

ATHENS - On paper, an objective eye would tell you the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs figure to easily glide past the Kent State Golden Flashes on Saturday at Sanford Stadium.

That’s not at all how the Bulldogs are approaching their second home game of the season, though, with coach Kirby Smart calling Kent State a “quality opponent” at his Monday news conference.

“We did some offseason study on these guys,” Smart said. “And they have a really unique offense. And, actually, a really unique defense as well. They do a tremendous job. Sean Lewis has done a great job with these guys in terms of coaching them up and getting these guys to play hard. They’ve played a really tough schedule in the teams they’ve played. We’re looking forward to an opportunity to play these guys.”

Kent State is 1-2, but its record is deceiving, having played a brutal schedule so far – it lost to Washington (3-0, No. 18), 45-20, in Week 1 and lost to Oklahoma (3-0, No. 6), 33-3, in Week 2. After blowing out LIU, 63-10, it’s right back to the grindstone against Georgia on Saturday.

The Golden Flashes are known for their fast-paced “Fast Flash” offense, and Smart praised quarterback Collin Schlee, a redshirt junior.

“They’ve got a quarterback that I didn’t know a lot about who is, No. 1, a tremendous athlete,” Smart said. “No. 2, he makes a lot of people miss. He’s dynamic with the ball in his hand. He’s made some wild throws. You’re going to hear about this guy. He’s had some 60-, 70-yard passes that are incredible. They have some really good wideouts. They’re a talented team. You go and watch them on defense, they do enough different defensively that it can create issues for you because it’s not what you see every day.

“It’s a little more new-aged defense, which people are playing to affect teams that are on the perimeter more, second level, fitters able to disguise a little more … You watch the first half of the Oklahoma game, you have no question how good they are. They, really, played Washington well outside of a couple of drives. Washington scored on them. But outside of that, they went toe-to-toe with Washington.”

Kent State plays in the Mid-American Conference, or the MAC, and that’s a conference you can’t underestimate, UGA senior defensive back Chris Smith said.

“They have a very good offense, and the conference they play in, it’s not no pushover at all,” Smith said. “They’re a team that plays very hard, and they’re going to give us a challenge. We’re going to get their best foot forward, just like we do with any other team, and they’re going to get ours.”

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