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Kent State head coach Paul Haynes returns to work after prostate cancer surgery

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Kent State head coach Paul Haynes took a medical leave of absence on Aug. 27. We now know why.

One day later, Haynes underwent surgery to remove cancer in his prostate. The cancer was discovered during a routine screening over the summer, which Haynes says may have saved his life. From the Record-Courier:

“It was found during a regular checkup last summer,” said Haynes. “There are really no common side effects with prostate cancer, so that checkup probably saved my life. Prostate cancer is most common among African-American men ages 40 and over, so I strongly encourage everyone in that age group to get a PSA screening.”

Haynes looks healthy and said he feels even better than he expected just two weeks after undergoing surgery.

“Unless my wife tells me I need to get my butt back home, it’s full speed ahead,” Haynes smiled.

The Golden Flashes went 1-1 in Haynes’s absence, losing 56-3 at Clemson and defeating Howard 38-31 on Saturday. Kent State visits Marshall this week.

No. 5 Clemson opens 2017 with a bang, and a new QB, in 56-3 win

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Kelly Bryant broke himself in as the new starting quarterback quite well as No. 5 Clemson (1-0) opened up the new season with a dominating performance against Kent State (0-1). The defending champs took a 49-3 victory at home as Bryant took control filling the shoes of Deshaun Watson with 236 passing yards, one touchdown pass, 77 rushing yards and another score on the ground.

Clemson opened the season with 21 points in the first and third quarters, showing quick bursts at the start of each half. As expected in a blowout like this, there were many contributors to the Clemson offense today. Four different running backs scored a touchdown, with C.J. Fuller picking up two scores before getting the afternoon off. A total of 13 different Tigers recorded at least one reception in the game as well, with the bulk of those passes coming from Bryant (16-22-1 for 236 yards, 1 TD).

Clemson’s defense was also locked in, tying down Kent State for just 110 yards of offense and allowing just five first downs. Clemson out-gained the Golden Flashes by roughly 545 yards. It was just a total mismatch from start to finish, and it wasn’t just because Kent State was without their head coach. This was a battle between a program that has built a rock-solid foundation through top-shelf recruiting and player development and, well, Kent State.

Clemson will kick it up a notch next week in terms of difficulty. The Tigers welcome the Auburn Tigers to Death Valley for a fun ACC vs. SEC battle. Auburn is starting the season ranked No. 12 in the preseason AP poll and will be hosting Georgia Southern later tonight in their season opener. Clemson opened the 2016 season with a 19-13 victory at Auburn last season and will take a three-game winning streak in the series into next week’s game, with the first two games in that winning streak occurring in 2011 and 2012.

Kent State will look to put a win in the books next week at home against Howard.

Kelly Bryant has settled in as Clemson’s new QB

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Overreactions to one half of football in the first half of the season opener are often times misguided, but it was hard not to like what Clemson fans witnessed from their new starting quarterback, Kelly Bryant. But after a fast start in the first quarter with 21 points scored by the defending national champions, Clemson is holding a lead of just 28-3 at the half against Kent State.

Bryant ended the first half having completed 14 of 20 passes for 178 yards, with 61 of them coming on this deep pass to Deon Cain for a touchdown.

And yes, he is even quite cordial to the referees, as evidenced by this moment at the end of a play.

Bryant has also impressed with his running abilities as well, as he currently leads all players with 77 rushing yards and a touchdown. All things considered, this has been a fine start to the season for the Tigers after just one half of play. While a handful of top 10 teams had questionable first halves in their openers, Clemson has been just dandy.

Toledo and Ohio top preseason MAC coaches poll

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While most of the 2017 conference predictions and preseason polls have been out there for over a month from the media day circuit, the MAC has held off until today to reveal its preseason coaches poll. As it turns out, the coaches in the MAC have some varied opinions on how things will shake out in the MAC this football season.

Ohio and Toledo were each selected to win the MAC East and West Divisions, respectively, by the coaches of the MAC, although a few others received first-place votes in each division as well. Ohio picked up nine first-place votes in the East to pull ahead of Miami. Ohio won the division last season and hopes to clinch its first MAC championship since 1968. Ohio has never played in back-to-back MAC Championship games, so returning to the game this year would mark a first for the Bobcats.

Toledo last won the MAC in 2004 but the Rockets are widely considered a conference favorite this season. Still, the coaches in the MAC have a different take on the West Division with four other teams receiving first-place votes. Toledo still received seven first-place votes, but defending conference champion Western Michigan picked up two, and Northern Illinois, Central Michigan, and Ball State each received a first-place vote from the MAC coaches.

Here is how the MAC coaches poll looks. For reference, the preseason media poll also tabbed Ohio and Toledo, with the Rockets being named the preseason conference championship favorite. The coaches did not vote on a preseason conference champion.

2017 MAC Head Football Coaches Preseason Poll

Team (First Place Votes)  Points

MAC East Division       

  1. Ohio (9)                                 69
  2. Miami (3)                              61
  3. Bowling Green                    45
  4. Akron                                     41
  5. Buffalo                                   20
  6. Kent State                            16

MAC West Division

  1. Toledo (7)                             66
  2. Western Michigan (2)        58
  3. Northern Illinois (1)            45
  4. Eastern Michigan               35
  5. Central Michigan (1)          31
  6. Ball State (1)                        17

Kent State head coach Paul Haynes taking medical leave of absence

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Kent State will begin its 2017 season without its head coach on the sidelines.

The football program announced Sunday night that Paul Haynes is taking a medical leave of absence from his job.  The coach, a press release stated, “is expected to return to the team in two to three weeks.”

Such a timeline means that Haynes will miss the Sept. 2 opener against defending national champion Clemson as well as the Sept. 9 home opener against FCS Howard.  On the long end of the 2-3 week range, Haynes would also likely miss the Sept. 16 road trip to Marshall.

With Haynes sidelined, offensive coordinator Don Treadwell, who was Miami of Ohio’s head coach from 2011-2013, will serve as interim head coach.

“We fully support head coach Paul Haynes during his leave,” said KSU athletic director Joel Nielsen in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the Haynes family as we look forward to his return to Kent State.”

Haynes is entering his fifth season with the Golden Flashes.  In the previous four years, they’ve gone 12-35 overall and 8-23 in MAC play.