FCS team of the week: Kennesaw maturing as a program

(STATS) – Half of Kennesaw State’s losses in its first two seasons as a start-up program came against Charleston Southern and Liberty.

After posting a 42-28 victory at Liberty on Saturday night, the third-year Owls are halfway toward climbing over that hill.

A Big South title might be found on the other side.

The STATS FCS Team of the Week got a jump on the title race by extending their winning streak to a school-record five games. Running backs Shaquil Terry and Jake McKenzie both went over 100 rushing yards as the Owls (5-1, 1-0) controlled the game with a school-record 498 yards on the ground.

“It was a big win for us,” said coach Brian Bohannon, whose team is 19-9 in its short existence. “To come on the road and beat Liberty, it was huge. I was very proud when we lost momentum and were able to get it back and win the game. We are still a young football team and it was a big thing for us to go out and finish tonight.”

Liberty, the 10-time Big South champ, isn’t eligible for the conference title as it transitions toward the FBS next season, but its games count in the standings, so Kennesaw State sought a fast start in the conference opener. After the host Flames went ahead 7-0 on their opening possession, Kennesaw State scored 35 straight points to take a big lead by halftime.

Liberty pulled within 35-28 in the fourth quarter, but that’s when the Owls showed maturity as a program, running off nearly six minutes of game clock before McKenzie iced the win with a 30-yard touchdown run. He gained 45 of his 111 rushing yards on the drive and Terry finished with 126 yards – both career highs.

Kennesaw State’s time of possession was a gaudy 38 minutes, 38 seconds. Running back Darnell Holland (84 yards, two touchdowns) and quarterback Chandler Burks (82 yards, touchdown) added to the team’s relentless triple-option attack. Burks also passed for a score.

The Owls, who have only lost to nationally ranked Samford, have four more Big South games. Charleston Southern, the two-time defending champion, will visit the Georgia school on Nov. 11.

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