By Don Stone – KennesawStateSports.com
This is not your big brother’s Owls team. Those that came before dominated lesser teams and usually beat tougher teams winning multiple Big South Championships along the way since their inception in 2015.
This year is a transitional one as Kennesaw State moves out of the FCS and the Atlantic Sun Conference to the FBS level Conference USA.
They were only able to get a nine game schedule to fill in the gaps. Many of those teams looked like pushovers. But, so far, the only one that would qualify for that label is the season opener against Tusculum. After losing that matchup 38-7, the Pioneers have won three of their five games since. But, all of those games were against teams like Wingate, Catawba, Barton and Carson-Newman.
KSU, in the meantime, has struggled in every game they’ve played, losing every one since to teams like Chattanooga, Furman, Tennessee Tech, Charleston Southern and now a frustrating 27-20 Homecoming loss in front of a sellout crowd to Tennessee State, who led in every minute of the game from start to finish.
This was despite the fact that Michael Benefield set a career high with 101 yards rushing. Mistakes in the snapping game were a problem last week. And, a bad snap in this one took an Owls team that was driving deep in Tiger territory and had the ball sail over the quarterback’s head an astounding 40 yards giving them an insurmountable first and 50 on their own 40, obviously killing that promising drive.
And, even though Tennessee State committed eight penalties for 81 yards and had maybe a dozen three and outs, they still won by a touchdown.
KSU has a rare double bye week lined up as they try to figure out what’s not working before hosting another one of those teams you probably have never heard of, Lincoln (CA). This one has to be a win with the Oaklanders winless in seven games this season, outscored by a combined 270-64 in those games.
But, there’s a lot to work on in the time between now and October 28.