Kennesaw State Owls
By: Kenneth Harrison
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Kennesaw State started playing football in 2015.
The Owls have had immediate success, making the playoffs four times. Head coach Brian Bohannon has been there from the beginning, going 63–18.
They played in the Big South Conference previously. They joined the ASUN Conference this season, formerly known as the Atlantic Sun.
Junior quarterback Xavier Shepherd is on the preseason Walter Payton Award watch list, which is for the best player in the nation in FCS. Shepherd is ASUN Conference Preseason Offensive Player of the Year and ASUN Preseason All-Conference.
He played in seven games last season and passed for 640 yards, 5 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. He also rushed for 556 yards and 12 scores.
KSU had a very good 2021 season, going 11–2. One of those losses was to a Power 5 FBS school, Georgia Tech. They are trying to focus on having deep playoff runs at this point. The Owls advanced to the second round of the FCS Playoffs, losing 32-31 to #7 East Tennessee State.
They tried to address some concerns by adding talent in the offseason. They signed 25 players in the class of 2022 and 17 of them are from Georgia. Five of them are offensive linemen so they have added depth up front.
“Every year we are trying to get better, and I think that’s the case with this year’s class. It’s a great group and our staff did an awesome job,” Bohannon said. “When you are playing late in the year and you are balancing recruiting and the playoffs, it’s challenging, but we have gotten used to that around here, which is a good thing. It is a great group of young men that we have signed, and we are also going to add another good group in February. I am excited about what is going on with Kennesaw State football right now.”
KSU should be a well-rounded team with a strong defense, allowing 19.5 points per game last season. The Owls return eight of their 11 top tacklers, led by LB Evan Thompson, who broke the single-season school record with 118 total tackles.
In the FCS preseason Top 25 poll the Owls are ranked sixth.
The season starts Thursday September 1st at Samford. This will be a win.
Things get much harder the following week at Cincinnati. The Bearcats had an undefeated regular season last year and made the College Football Playoffs. They lost a lot of talent from that team but as an FBS team they have more talent and scholarship players. The Bearcats will win big.
After a bye week the home opener is against Wofford. KSU beat them 31-10 in 2021 and I expect a similar outcome in 2022.
The first conference game is October 1st at Jacksonville State. JSU is transitioning to move up to FBS so they do have more scholarship players. They are eligible to win the conference title but not eligible for the FCS playoffs. Kennesaw State beat the #17 Gamecocks 31-6 last season. I think it will be closer this season and Kennesaw gets the W.
The next two games are home conference games against North Alabama and Central Arkansas. Both should be wins but fairly close.
The next three games are non-conference against Tennessee Tech, Charleston Southern and UT Martin, all wins.
The season will end against ASUN opponents Austin Peay and Eastern Kentucky. These are both games KSU will be favored in.
Best case scenario is going 10-1 in the regular season. I think they will need to win at least two playoff games to make this season successful.
By: Kenneth Harrison
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
The Kennesaw State Owls kick off the 2021 football season Thursday, September 2 against Reinhardt.
The Owls are ranked 20th nationally in the preseason poll. They look to have another successful season and possibly a playoff appearance.
The program started playing football in 2015 and they have had a winning record every season. Head coach Brian Bohannon has been there from the beginning and has a record of 52 – 16. The team plays at the Football Championship Subdivision level, formerly called 1-AA.
The 2020 FCS season was played in the spring due to the pandemic. The Owls were 4 – 1 and had one game cancelled. They look to build on that and win the Big South Conference for the first time since 2018.
Senior running back Isaac Foster was named to the Big South’s Preseason Special Teams First-Team, and honorable mention offense. He was second on the team in rushing in 2020 with 229 yards, averaging 7.6 yards per carry on 30 attempts. He was All-Big South Offense Second-Team for the Spring 2021 season.
Junior quarterback Jonathan Murphy is the starter going into the season. He led the team in passing yards and attempts in the Spring season. He played in three games and made two starts. He threw for 275 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also rushed for 174 yards and 2 TD’s.
Week 1 is home against Reinhardt. The Eagles are an NAIA team and they are completely outmatched. This will be an easy win for KSU.
Week 2 is at Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets are an FBS team so they have more players on scholarship. They are also bigger, stronger and faster at every position. I think the Owls will put up a good fight but lose.
The next game is at Wofford in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The Terriers were 1 -4 last season. Three of those loses were by six points or less so they are a competitive team. I give the edge to Kennesaw State to get the W.
After a bye week, October begins with a home game against Jacksonville State. The Gamecocks are always a contender in FCS. They were 10 – 3 last season, playing games in the Fall and Spring. I think JSU will win this game.
KSU travels to Virginia to face Hampton. This is the first conference game of the season. Kennesaw State should have a blowout win against the Pirates.
They return home to Fifth Third Bank Stadium to take on North Carolina A&T State. The Owls will win another Big South conference game by 20-plus points.
The following week they go on the road to North Carolina to play Campbell. They have my favorite mascot in college sports, the Fighting Camels. The Camels were 0 -4 in 2020 and they played during the Fall. They are not very good so KSU will win big.
Gardner-Webb travels to Kennesaw for the eighth game. This game was postponed during the Spring season. The Runnin’ Bulldogs were 2 – 2 last season. They are a solid team but I expect KSU to win a close game.
The Owls travel to Pennsylvania to face Robert Morris. They beat the Colonials 35 – 0 in the Spring and this will be a similar game.
KSU goes on the road again to face North Alabama. They are not good so this will be another easy win.
The season finale is against Monmouth. They won the last meeting 42 – 17 and won the conference title. This game will determine the Big South champion again and I think the Hawks will win.