Kennesaw State achieved its fifth consecutive victory, a school record, after defeating the Liberty Flames 42-28 on Saturday.
The Owls deep group of running backs gained 498 rushing yards — a new school record. Shaquil Terry and Jake McKenzie both ran for over a hundred yards while Darnell Holland, Chandler Burks and Sam Outlaw were also major contributors in the run game.
After leading 35-7 with four minutes left in the third quarter, the Owls’ lead was cut to 35-28 with nine minutes left in the fourth quarter.
Burks fumbled the ball early on the Owls’ final drive but recovered the ball himself to keep the Flames from having a chance to tie the game.
The Owls took nearly six minutes off the clock on their final drive of the game, with McKenzie picking up 45 of his career-high 111 yards on the drive.
KSU faced a fourth-down situation, but head coach Brian Bohannon had no intention of giving the ball back to the Flames. T.J. Reed needed two yards for the first down but instead found six, keeping the drive alive.
After marching down to Liberty’s side of the field, the Owls scored on a 30-yard run by McKenzie, sealing the game and continuing momentum that the team has built up this season.
The Flames opened up the scoring in the first quarter, but the Owls responded with a 75-yard drive that was aided by two huge gains by Terry and capped off by a Holland touchdown run.
KSU took control of the game in the second quarter, starting with a 63-yard touchdown run by Holland. Terry scored later in the quarter on another impressive rush, going for 26 yards to the end zone.
The first half ended with a one-handed touchdown catch by Justin Sumpter to make it 28-7.
With only one second remaining on the clock before halftime, Burks found Sumpter on the left side of the end zone. Sumpter leaped to grab the ball with one hand, all while managing to keep a foot in bounds.
Sumpter’s grab didn’t go unnoticed as he managed to secure the number one spot on ESPN’s Top 10 plays.
Burks ran in a touchdown from a couple yards out to extend the lead for the Owls in the third quarter, but the Flames started their comeback soon after. Liberty climbed back into the game, but KSU put in its best drive of the game to seal the victory.
“It was a big win for us,” Bohannon said. “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.”
The Owls return to the Fifth Third Bank Stadium next Saturday to host the Gardner-Webb Bulldogs at 7 p.m. on homecoming night. The game can be watched on mobile devices through the ESPN3 app and listened to on the radio at 106.3 and 1230 The Fan.