By Don Stone, KennesawStateSports.com
The game at Georgia Tech was tough. This game has the potential to be right up there. No. 17 Jacksonville State comes to Fifth Third Bank Stadium Saturday. Even though the teams have only met twice, they’ve both been ones to remember.
The two teams first met in 2017 in the Second Round of the FCS Playoffs in Jacksonville, Alabama with the Gamecocks falling 17-7 to the Owls. Then, the barnburner in 2018 with a game played at Truist Park (then Suntrust Park). It went into five overtimes with Kennesaw State prevailing on an interception in the end zone, 60-52. KSU Head coach Brian Bohannon said that he and the players were so thoroughly exhausted that they were too tired to celebrate the incredible victory.
He sees this as being a rivalry that will build over the years with both teams moving to the Atlantic Sun Conference in 2022.
The Gamecocks are coming in off a disappointing loss as UT Martin stunned the them with 24 points in a span of less than 12 minutes during the second half to claim a 34-31 upset win.
JSU has already done some stunning on their own with a thrilling 20-17 shocker over Florida State in Tallahassee on September 11.
“They’re as talented as anybody we’ll play all year. Always have been, probably always will be,” said coach Bohannon.
“Their quarterback makes them go. Zerrick Cooper is a heck of a player. He played against us in ’18. He makes some unbelievable throws. He’s got the ability to run.
“Defensively, they’re like they always are. When we played them in ’17, after about five minutes in the game, I said on the headset, I felt like there were 13 of them out there.
“They run so well. The thing they’re doing right now is creating points on defense. Their last two games, they scored 21 points on defense.”
The Owls only loss was at a much improved Georgia Tech team. Their last game was an impressive 31-10 drubbing at Wofford last week. The defense held the Terriers to their lowest total rushing yards in a game (67) in 24 years.
Coach Bohannon said that they needed the early bye week last week to get a few players healed up.
Kickoff is 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 2 at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.