By Don Stone, KennesawStateSports.com
This Saturday will be the final regular season home game for a strange football season…and the Owls still haven’t played a game away from Fifth Third Bank Stadium.
The 2020 fall season had to be moved back to a spring season, which was only six games to begin with.
The first three with Shorter, Charleston Southern and Dixie State were all scheduled to start the season at home. Kennesaw State was supposed to then go on the road to play a very good Gardner-Webb team.
But, the Runnin’ Bulldogs have been struggling to get a full team on the field because of Covid-19 and the game was postponed. Head Coach Brian Bohannon said they’re still working with the Big South offices to reschedule it but haven’t heard anything yet.
That postponed game gave KSU an unwanted bye week.
“You get tired of practicing and just want to play,” coach Bohannon said.
Now, once again, the Owls are at home hosting Robert Morris, a team that was originally supposed to begin play in the Big South Conference in the fall of 2021. But, when BSC teams began canceling their fall of 2020 seasons moving them to the spring of 2021, the Colonels decided to join the conference early.
Like everything else this past year, the move hasn’t gone as expected.
RMU has been dealing with numerous cancelatons already. Their game with Charleston Southern was postponed and moved to April 10. Their March 13 game with Monmouth will now be played on April 17. And they too had to reschedule a game with Gardner-Webb. It was on the books for April 10 and they’re working with the league offices to find a later date for that one.
Coach Bohannon talked about the difficulty of facing an opponent who has only played one game since 2019.
“It is what it is,” he said. “They played James Madison, who a lot of people had ranked number one in the nation (FCS) and they were ahead at half time 16-9.”
But the Dukes kicked it in gear at that point and outscored RMU 27-0 on the way to a 36-16 victory.
So, it will be a historic game in a couple of ways. First, Robert Morris will be playing their first ever Big South game…their first game of any kind since that JMU game a month ago.
And, a win would give KSU their first ever 4-0 start.
But they’ll need to change a few patterns In each of the first three games, the opponent has scored first with the Owls not putting points on the board until late in the first half in two of the games and late in the first quarter in the other.
The Colonels notched three early interceptions against James Madison by linebackers Tiheem Crocker and Aaron Green and safety Jacob White converting them to ten points.
Redshirt junior quarterback George Martin had a 37 yard touchdown pass to Jerry Hanks, Jr. as well. He has thrown at least one TD in six straight games.
The Colonels have a lot of players from their 2019 team that went 6-1 in the Northeast Conference including six on offense and six on defense.
Kennesaw State moved up in the national rankings this week to No. 7.
The Owls have dominated the Big South winning sixteen of their last seventeen games in conference. Following their last victory over Dixie State, KSU swept the Big South awards for the second consecutive week with Tommy Bryant getting Offensive Player of the Week, Bryson Armstrong Defensive POW, Nathan Robertson Special Teams Player of the Week and Cade Loden Freshman POW.
Bryant was injured near the end of that game and will be out the rest of the season. Filling in will be sophomore quarterback Jonathan Murphy, who has been healing from an injury himself, sustained in the Buccaneer game.
But Coach Bohannon expects him to be ready.
“He’s practicing right now, which is positive. So, we’ll see how the week goes,” he said.
Kickoff is at 1:00 p.m. Saturday at Fifth Third Bank Stadium. You can hear the game on the KSU TuneIn app.
KSU Game Notes