The Kennesaw State football team found a way to beat the Montana State Bobcats 16-14, despite a 20-degree temperature on Saturday.
For the second time in the program’s three-year history, the Owls came into Saturday’s game as the 25th-ranked team in the FCS. With a win over the Bobcats, the Owls clinched their eighth consecutive win.
Chandler Burks led the way for KSU with a career-high 149 rushing yards, which were only a fraction of the Owls’ 346 rushing yard total.
Jake McKenzie also had a big day, rushing for 116 yards in his third 100-yard rushing game in the last four games.
Placekicker Justin Thompson calmly made three field goals to help win the game, the last one sealing the victory with less than two minutes remaining.
The game was won at the end, very similarly to how the game began. The Owls took more than eight minutes off the clock on their first drive, and they took 10 minutes off the clock on the game-winning drive.
On the final drive, KSU converted three third downs and two fourth downs, never letting up with a constant rushing attack. After the Owls’ field goal, the Bobcats had the ball and were moving down the field until Taylor Henkle sealed the win with an interception.
“A third-year program going across the country to find a way to win is exciting,” said head coach Brian Bohannon. “It was a hard-fought game, and they have a good football team. We found a way, and that’s what I’m most proud of.”
With the impressive road win in mind, KSU comes home next week to host Charleston Southern. Last year, the Buccaneers were the cause of heartbreak for the Owls, defeating KSU in the final game of the season to clinch a playoff spot.
Much like Montana State, CSU has lost a few games this season to high-quality competition. CSU is 5-4, with two FCS loses to Elon and Monmouth, the latter of which the Owls will play to wrap up the regular season.
Next week’s game will likely come down to who has the better defense, as both teams have been solid against both the run and pass. Each team allows around 190 passing yards per game, with KSU allowing an average of 95 rushing yards and CSU allowing 110.
However, the advantage for the Owls is their offensive average of 331 rushing yards per game, which leads the entire FCS.
So far, KSU has had a successful season, but the final two games of the season will present challenges that will test their ultimate resolve. Both the 5-4 Buccaneers and the 8-1 Monmouth Hawks will be difficult teams to conquer, and the prospect of a playoff berth will be an enormous motivator for the Owls.
Saturday’s game against Charleston Southern will be a 3:30 p.m. affair at Fifth Third Bank Stadium and will be available to watch on ESPN3 and listen on 106.3 and 1230 The Fan.