Here at And the Valley Shook, we are not only purveyors of fine sport. We also have a great sense of history, and each week we research the story behind our opponent. Submitted for your approval are Ten Potentially True Facts - meticulously researched - about Saturday's foe, the Kent State Golden Flashes.
- Founded in 1910 by seven lost and drunken fur trappers, Kent State began its life as a place where "men could teach animals how to read and write." Its animal-only student population fielded a football team consisting of silver foxes in 1920, hence Kent State's original moniker, the Silver Foxes. In their first game against Georgia Tech, the Kent State Silver Foxes lost 15,230-2 and all died.
- Alabama head coach Nick Saban played defensive back for Kent State in the early 1970s. He was a desperation pickup by then-head coach Dave Puddington, who "liked the fire in him" after seeing Saban take out a display of canned creamed corn in frustration when he could not reach the middle shelf at the local grocery store.
- The Golden Flashes play their home games at Dix Stadium. We know you giggled when you said that to yourself. It's okay, we did too.
- Kent State joined the Mid-American Conference in 1951 and is one of the oldest purveyors of #MACtion. If you have never seen what #MACtion is or can do, consult this box score. #MACtion is like hard liquor. If consumed properly it can provide you with an exhilarating experience. If consumed carelessly you could black out, vomit, defecate yourself, and then lose by 12 points at home.
- Kent State played in the Refrigerator Bowl, their first-ever postseason game, in 1954. The refrigerator the player in the linked picture is running through was honored at halftime for its service in America's nuclear weapons test program.
- Head coach Paul Haynes is also a Kent State alumnus. For years he was the best player on a stout defense consisting of four potted plants, two plastic flamingos, and four garden gnomes. This defense gave up 1,352 ypg despite Haynes recording over 190 tackles a game.
- Kent State's primary rivals are the Akron Zips, coached by former Auburn skipper Terry Bowden. In 2012, the Golden Flashes beat the Zips to collect the Wagon Wheel, a trophy created in 2005 and named after the Old Crow Medicine Show hit. More importantly, the Golden Flashes are doing the Lord's work by ensuring that - no matter what - a Bowden in this world will always be angry.
- The Golden Flashes have a program winning percentage of .338, one of the worst in all of the Football Bowl Subdivision, though they have had recent success. In 2012, Kent State had its first ten-win season ever, an improvement from a 5-7 season the year before. Thayer Evans has been hiding in a locker room garbage can since mid-July hoping to gather information on the "dirty business" behind this turnaround.
- Contrary to popular belief, Lou Holtz did NOT go to Notre Dame, playing at Kent State in the 1950s. In the locker room, Holtz would attempt to fire up his teammates by saying "win this one for Kent State!" No one ever paid attention to the message because they were too busy laughing at his speech impediment.
- Kent State narrowly missed out on its second MAC championship ever, losing to Northern Illinois in a 2012 double overtime thriller in the MAC Championship Game. KSU's players heard then head coach Darrell Hazell was interviewing for the Purdue job shortly before the 2nd overtime, inspiring them to lose the game in an extremely heartbreaking manner. The players thought that Hazell would stay if he felt like he was coaching at Purdue.
Well, we hope you learned something! For more facts, feel free to consult the Internet, Wikipedia, your local library, and (if you're really feeling desperate) other people! And just remember, if you aren't learning, you aren't improving your mind. Enjoy the game on Saturday, everyone!