NCF Nation: Brian Lainhart

Non-AQ predictions: Week 11

November, 11, 2010
Predictions: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-10 | SEC | Non-AQ

Three straight weeks of going 7-3 is not that bad considering the alternative. I did get one of my upset specials right, though I didn’t expect Navy to hang 76 on East Carolina. Props to New Mexico. Does it count that I said there was a “slim chance” of an upset? Hey at least I said there was a chance!

With a 64-40 overall record, bring on Week 11.

East Carolina 41, UAB 35. (Tonight) The Pirates have to get past the 76 points they allowed to Navy last week. UAB is going to have to get running back Pat Shed going, because Dominique Davis will be able to pass for the Pirates. The East Carolina defense has been bad, but somehow the Pirates will find a way to bounce back with bowl eligibility on the line. They have got to hold on to the football, though. Four turnovers on five possessions in the third quarter against Navy let the game get out of hand.

No. 4 Boise State 45, Idaho 13. (Friday). You know the atmosphere is going to be rowdy, what with offseason comments from Boise State president Bob Kustra stirring the pot. This is the final scheduled game in the rivalry now that the Broncos are leaving for the Mountain West. The Vandals would love nothing more than to end their undefeated season, but they are one of the most penalized teams in the country. Idaho hasn’t beaten Boise State since 1998. The Vandals’ last win at home over the Broncos? 1995.

No. 3 TCU 38, San Diego State 10. Sure this is the classic “trap” game for the Horned Frogs, who will be coming down off an emotional 47-7 win at Utah. San Diego State is much improved this season, and bowl eligible for the first time since 1998. Ronnie Hillman already has 1,000 yards rushing and will be the No. 1 target to stop. The Aztecs have won four straight but haven’t looked good doing it. They have won their past three games by an average of eight points. Their opponents in those three games have a combined six wins.

No. 14 Utah 35, at Notre Dame 20. The Utes have to bounce back and fast to put the embarrassment of last weekend behind them. This certainly will be a big test for coach Kyle Whittingham to get his team to stay focused for the remainder of the season. The Irish have a handful of starters out because of injuries. Bank on Jordan Wynn putting the mistakes of last week behind him to have a big game.

No. 21 Nevada 45, Fresno State 40. This one is not going to be easy for the Wolf Pack, but they come into the game riding a major 844-yard output on offense, with three 100-yard runners and a 300-yard passer in a win over Idaho. Chris Carter and Logan Harrell each have nine sacks for Fresno State, but the first key is to stop the run. The same can be said for Nevada -- Fresno State has gotten good production from Robbie Rouse in the last three games. He is coming off a 286-yard day against Louisiana Tech.

UCF 35, Southern Miss 21. The Knights are the only undefeated team left in Conference USA and are the favorites to win the entire conference. They survived a scare on the road against Houston last week and now face an East Division rival that has been inconsistent. But the Golden Eagles have lost their two league games by a combined two points. Still, their defense has been somewhat disappointing and is going to have a hard time slowing down Jeff Godfrey.

BYU 30, Colorado State 27. I am trying not to read too much into the Cougars’ offensive explosion last week because it came against UNLV. But still, it has to be encouraging to see Jake Heaps throw for more than 100 yards in a game. This one features the two top freshman quarterbacks in the league, and the Rams are much improved with Pete Thomas leading the way. But BYU has an improving defense -- and has to win to keep bowl hopes alive.

Army 30, Kent State 27. The Black Knights have to win either against Kent State or next week against Notre Dame to become bowl eligible for the first time since 1996. This one is an intriguing matchup -- Army has the No. 8 rushing attack in the country, averaging 277 yards a game. Kent State has the best run defense, giving up just 69 yards a game. But the Golden Flashes have to major injuries on defense: linebacker Cobrani Mixon and safety Brian Lainhart. Mixon is second on the team in tackles, while Lainhart is third. Quarterback Spencer Keith also has a sprained thumb and is listed as day-to-day.

Troy 28, FIU 17. Though FIU is 3-5, the Panthers are 3-1 in conference play, half a game behind Troy (4-1). So essentially the Sun Belt title is on the line. Troy has never lost to FIU, so bank on the Trojans to win this one and eventually win their fifth straight league title. Great special-teams matchup to watch between T.Y. Hilton of FIU and Jerrel Jernigan of Troy.

UPSET SPECIAL: Tulsa 45, Houston 44. The top two scoring offenses in Conference USA battle it out with the West division title at stake. The Golden Hurricane have loads of confidence after winning three straight, and plenty of weapons for Houston to try and handle. Tulsa has a more high-powered attack than UCF, which scored 40 in a win last week, so the Golden Hurricane get the edge.
No. 17: Brian Lainhart, DB, Kent State

2009 numbers: Led the MAC in interceptions with seven, which also ranked second nationally. He also had 87 tackles and four forced fumbles.

Making the case for Lainhart: Last season, Lainhart became the first Kent State player to earn first team All-MAC honors since 1988, and they were well deserved with seven interceptions, which was one shy of the school record. Lainhart also ranked second in the conference in forced fumbles and was tied for fifth with 11 passes defended. Lainhart enters the 2010 season with 15 career interceptions, which is the best among active players and four short of the school record.
Posted by’s Graham Watson

When Kent State does it’s weekly walk through in the field house on the Thursday or Friday prior to a game, it ends the session with a breakdown underneath the lone football banner in a sea of other Kent State sports championship banners.

It’s from the 1972 team, the only Kent State team to win a conference championship and the last team to go to a bowl game.

That could change after this weekend when the Golden Flashes visit Akron in the annual Wagon Wheel Game.

Kent State has won three consecutive games and is one game away from the sixth win for bowl eligibility.

“If somebody had told me at the beginning of the year that we wouldn’t have <a href="" target="_new">Eugene Jarvis</a>, one of the best running backs in the conference, and that we’d be playing with a true freshman quarterback and we’d still be in the hunt, I’d say they were drinking something,” Kent State coach <a href="" target="_new">Doug Martin</a> said. “But our players have really responded and rallied around each other.”

The Golden Flashes also are in the hunt for the MAC East title. They’ve already beaten Ohio, which is tied with a 4-1 record with Kent State, and they play East leader Temple next week.

Both Martin and junior safety Brian Lainhart, the team's leader in interceptions, said the change in the team’s attitude started with the loss to Baylor on Oct. 3. Although the Golden Flashes were blown out 31-15 and sitting at 2-3 overall, something clicked in the team that made it think it could compete.

“We got a confidence after the Baylor game because Baylor was a top team that we played this year and we really believed that we could play with anybody else on our schedule,” Lainhart said. ‘Offensively, defensively, special teams we really put it all together. We might not have had it all together the whole game, but there were bits and pieces of that game where we were like, ‘Man, we’re pretty darn good.’ And we just kind of built off that and just took it into MAC play.”

What’s most surprising about Kent State’s success is that it’s been behind a youthful team. Freshman quarterback <a href="" target="_new">Spencer Keith</a> was thrust into the lineup during the second game of the season after starter <a href="" target="_new">Giorgio Morgan</a> was injured. Freshman receiver Tyshon Keith has emerged as the top target. Several other young players have become contributors this season.

Having so many young players has actually helped his team. They’re more about playing the game than thinking about the history and pressure. It’s kept the team relaxed and focused on its goals.

“We have a bunch of young guys playing right now and the thing that helps us is that our young guys are so mature,” Lainhart said. “Spencer Keith, you’d never think he was a freshman. Older guys just keep reminding the young guys to just keep playing one game at a time. That’s what got us here so far. We’ve just got to keep doing the things that we’ve been doing. If we look down the road, that’s when you let games slip up and you no longer in a position to obtain your goals.”