Green hopes to help get Kent State to BCS
By Michael Love
Published: Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2012, 8:50 p.m.
The Kent State football team defeated Ohio, 28-6, Saturday for its 10th consecutive victory, and the Golden Flashes punched their tickets to Friday's Mid-American Conference championship game against Northern Illinois at Ford Field in Detroit.
Gateway graduate Leon Green is Kent State's starting free safety, and the Golden Flashes fifth-year senior recorded seven tackles in the victory over the Bobcats.
The seven tackles was a season high.
The Golden Flashes' lone loss came in week two, with a 47-14 setback at the hands of Kentucky. They rebounded the next week and scored a 23-7 win at Buffalo in a game broadcasted on ESPN U.
Kent State's winning streak includes a 35-23 victory at Rutgers on Oct. 27.
Rutgers plays Louisville on Thursday in a game that could decide the Bowl Championship Series representative from the Big East.
The Golden Flashes' defense forced six Rutgers interceptions and also recovered a fumble.
Green had one of the interceptions against the Scarlet Knights. He picked off quarterback Gary Nova at the Kent State 7-yard line to snuff out a Rutgers scoring drive and returned the ball to the Rutgers 45.
The pick set up a scoring drive that culminated in a touchdown and a 21-3 lead with 5:54 to play in the first half.
Green added six tackles and broke up two passes against Rutgers.
For the season, Green has 29 tackles and two interceptions. He also picked off a pass in Kent State's 41-24 victory over Western Michigan on Oct. 20.
Green has played in all 12 games, and he got his first start of the season against Rutgers. He has started in four of the past five games.
He earned his first career start last year against Kansas State. He played in 10 games overall in 2011, and that included two starts.
Green had a career-high 12 tackles in last year's game against Central Michigan.
Kent State, which finished the regular season 11-1 and won the MAC East title for the first time in school history, moved up six spots in the BCS standings and sat in 17th when the latest poll was revealed Sunday night.
The Golden Flashes were 23rd in the BCS poll released Nov. 18, and Boise State, ranked 22nd, didn't play over the weekend.
The teams in positions 15 through 21 — Oregon State, Texas, UCLA, Rutgers, Michigan and Louisville — all lost, so that opened the door for Kent State to move up.
The Golden Flashes really could make some noise in the standings if they can beat Northern Illinois on Friday. Northern Illinois is ranked 21st in the BCS standings.
A single mid-major team automatically is guaranteed a BCS bowl game when it finishes in the top 12 in the nation or in the top 16 while also ahead of a BCS conference champion. This is true for only one mid-major team.
There's a possibility the Big East champion, or the champion of the Big Ten, Pac 10 or ACC could finish below Kent State in the standings if the Golden Flashes beat Northern Illinois.
B.J. Stevens, a redshirt junior defensive end on the California University of Pennsylvania football team, is one of 10 Vulcans recognized on the All-PSAC West Team for the 2012 season.
Cal U led the Western Division with nine first-team selections, and Stevens is among that group.
Stevens set a Vulcans single-season record for sacks in 2012 with 14½. He had 22½ tackles for a loss and 60 tackles overall in 11 games, all starts.
The 22½ tackles for a loss also was a Cal U single-season record, and his season sack and tackles-for-a-loss totals also led the PSAC.
The previous sack record of 12, established by Gary Butler, came in 2007. Butler was on the Philadelphia Eagles roster in the 2008 preseason, played for the BC Lions in the Canadian Football League in 2009 and currently is a member of the Pittsburgh Power Arena Football League squad.
Stevens knows about setting season sack records, as he set a Gateway single-season mark of 21 sacks his senior year in 2008.
Stevens produced a team-best nine tackles in a 41-0 victory over Gannon on Oct. 20.
The 60 tackles and 14½ sacks in 2012 gives Stevens 112 tackles and 20½ sacks in 36 games heading into his redshirt senior season in 2013.
Cal U finished the 2012 season 8-3 overall and 5-2 in the PSAC West. The Vulcans were 7-1 before suffering losses in two of their final three games. They rose to No. 6 in the NCAA Division II rankings after a 26-24 victory over IUP on Sept. 22 but suffered a 37-34 loss to West Chester one week later.
Cal U wrapped up its season Nov. 10 with a 56-28 victory over Millersville, and Stevens had one of his best games of the season with eight tackles and three sacks. It was the first time since 2007 a Vulcans defensive player had three sacks in a game.
Rob Kalkstein, a Gateway graduate and Carnegie Mellon junior quarterback, was named the University Athletic Association (UAA) Offensive Player of the Year.
Kalkstein, who set three single-season records in 2012, was one of five Tartans selected to the first team.
He became Carnegie Mellon's single-season passing, completion and completion percentage leader this fall.
Kalkstein finished the season passing for 2,148 yards on 136 completions and a percentage of 62.4.
He ended the season first in the UAA in total offense per game (197.45).
Kalkstein passed for a career-best 314 yards in the Tartans' 51-28 win over DePauw on Sept. 22 to become the first CMU quarterback to pass for more than 300 yards since 1993.
Five of Kalkstein's 16 touchdown passes were for 50 yards or more.
He now ranks fifth on the school's all-time passing and touchdown lists with 3,912 yards and 24 touchdowns for his career.
Eight Duquesne University football players — including Gateway graduates Dorian Bell and Eric Warning — were named to the All-Northeast Conference team in a vote of the league's coaches.
The Dukes tied conference champion Wagner for second-most all-conference picks.
Bell, a first-team selection, played in eight of Duquesne's 11 games and led the Dukes with 92 tackles (54 solo). He led Duquesne with 12 tackles for a loss and had a team-best 6.5 sacks.
Bell, a junior, missed the final two games with a hand injury.
Warning, a senior offensive lineman, was a three-year starter at left guard.
The second-team selection helped clear the way for senior running back Larry McCoy, who finished his career as the second-leading rusher in NEC history with 4,549 yards.
McCoy, who was the conference's second-leading rusher at 107 yards per game, was a second-team pick this season.
Warning also helped protect senior quarterback Sean Patterson, also a second-team selection.
Patterson completed 198 of 341 passes for 2,359 yards and 17 touchdowns.
Warning and Patterson finished tied for the most consecutive starts among offensive players with 33.
Duquesne finished tied for sixth in the NEC with a 3-5 record (5-6 overall).
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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