The Owls head into Saturday’s matchup against North Greenville coming off a much-needed bye week. The football team will look to extend its win streak to three games after two hard-fought, back-to-back wins against Tennessee Tech and Alabama State.
Despite clinching victories in their last two games, the Owls have yet to perform up to previous season’s standards. A frustrating mix of penalties, missed opportunities and lack of consistency has prevented the team from playing to its full potential.
So far, the strongest facet of the football team has been its defense. Led by Defensive Coordinator Brian Newberry, the Owls have forced 10 turnovers and held their first three opponents to under 1,000 yards of total offense combined.
Redshirt freshman Bryson Armstrong — named National Freshman of the Week after his phenomenal game against Alabama State — has amassed 25 solo tackles, three sacks and two interceptions through the first four weeks of the season.
The Owls have been very successful defending the run, not allowing a single rushing touchdown so far this year. Although the KSU secondary boasts seven interceptions, North Greenville quarterback Will Hunter is definitely going to test KSU’s defensive backs. Hunter has thrown at least one touchdown in every game so far this season and racked up 577 passing yards through the first four weeks.
The KSU offense has shown flashes of brilliance in the first half of each game this season only to come out of halftime looking a bit sluggish. Out of 70 total points scored this season, only 23 of those points were scored in the second half.
With a mobile quarterback in Chandler Burks and a lethal backfield featuring Darnell Holland and Shaquil Terry, KSU’s rushing attack has been solid thus far. Although head coach Brian Bohannon stresses a run-first offense, the passing game must improve if the Owls have any chance of clinching a Big South Conference title.
The Owls must get leading receiver Justin Sumpter more involved. Sumpter only has nine catches for 167 yards and a touchdown so far this season. This is a huge decline from his performance through the first three games last season where he had 19 catches for 321 yards and five touchdowns.
When the KSU offense and defense are firing on all cylinders they are a very difficult thing to contain. The offense certainly has the ability to play the way they did last season, scoring consistently and at a blistering pace, but they have to get the passing game going.
Anybody planning to attend the game should arrive at Fifth Third Bank Stadium by the 3:30 p.m. kickoff time dressed in KSU gold for the inaugural gold out.