Each week, we’ll highlight things we enjoy about Penn State football’s upcoming opponent, its campus, its alumni and more.
Who has the time to hate when there are property taxes to pay and weather forecasts to monitor?
This week: Kent State Golden Flashes.
1. Pro Bowl kickoff returner Josh Cribbs was a fun quarterback at Kent State
Cribbs, who was a rocket wrecking ball in the NFL as a return specialist for nearly a decade, led the Golden Flashes from 2001-2004 and ended up as the school’s all-time leader in total offense (10,839 yards).
He did some breathtaking stuff under center for Kent, including this run:
2. Nick Saban had some crappy years on the field at Kent State as a player
Most of college football fandom outside of Tuscaloosa will take anything we can that knocks Saban down a peg.
A graduate of Kent State, Saban played on some stinky Golden Flash teams in the early ‘70s. Mirroring the early 2000s Penn State horror shows, Kent finished 3-7, 3-8 and 6-5-1 during Saban's playing days.
3. What a Mo-Fo
Celebrity chef Michael Symon is nearly reduced to tears discussing The Mo-Fo Burger from Ray’s Place in downtown Kent, a popular eatery. Between the buttery mushrooms and the piled bacon on two cheese-covered patties? What’s not to enjoy?
4. Damn! This is some good-ass cheese!
Talk show host, comedian and actor Arsenio Hall is a Kent graduate, and responsible for one of the most memorable clips in Chappelle’s Show history (NSFW language).
5. Jack Lambert’s T-shirt
Lambert, the Hall of Fame linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers and former Kent State Golden Flash, wore this shirt one time and there really isn’t much else that needs to be said.
6. Black Squirrels are cool as heck
Penn State’s campus is known for its plentiful and friendly squirrel population (and has its own famous Squirrel Whisperer), but Kent has these incredible black squirrels that, over the course of 40 years, have evolved into an unofficial mascot. Hell, Kent even has an annual Black Squirrel Festival.
7. An outstanding 2012 season gave us … Purdue Head Coach Darrell Hazell
Hazell led Kent during a thrilling 2012 season that saw the squad get some serious buzz about being a BCS buster -- until the season went bust late and the Golden Flashes lost in double overtime to Northern Illinois in the MAC Championship game.
Hazell left for Purdue following Kent's appearance in the 2013 GoDaddy.com Bowl.
8. Kent State annually honors fallen former player
Offensive lineman Jason Bitsko passed away suddenly in 2014 from an undetected heart condition. To honor Bitsko, the Kent State program annually awards his No. 54 jersey to an offensive lineman whom exhibits the characteristics that teammates and coaches loved about him: pride, passion and devotion to his team.
This year’s recipient is center Stefano Millin.