Kennesaw State took another step towards a natty with a commanding 48-21 victory over Davidson in the first round of the Football Championship (FCS) playoffs.
The Owls completed a perfect season winning all six games in front of the home crowd. For head coach Brian Bohannon, his message to the team was simple, “You survive and you advance.”
Three touchdowns on the first two offensive possessions and a 63-yard punt return gave the Owls a 20-0 lead they would never relinquish. Sophomore quarterback Xavier Shepherd rushed for four touchdowns and threw for one more. His 56-yard strike to Xavier Hill stands as the longest of his young career.
Pioneer Football League champion Davidson, struggled out of the gate. The Wildcats entered the game with the nation’s top-ranked rushing attack that averaged 348.8 yards per game. Kennesaw’s defense held the Cats to 12 yards on their first three possessions including a fumble on the second snap of the game.
Running back Dylan Sparks narrowed the score on the Cats’ fourth turn with the ball. Sparks popped through a crease created by the inside zone block, eluded the safety, and outran the Owls secondary to the end zone. https://twitter.com/i/status/1464680701173932041
The Wildcats took advantage of the aggressive Owls linebacker corps the next time they were on offense. Senior Coy Williams burst through the right side of the line into nothing but daylight for a 61-yard touchdown run.
61 YARDS FOR COWBOY COY 🤠 and it's a '𝘾𝘼𝙏𝙎 𝙏𝙊𝙐𝘾𝙃𝘿𝙊𝙒𝙉‼️
Davidson 14, Kennesaw St. 27
— Davidson Football (@DavidsonFB) November 27, 2021
William’s score did not have the impact it could have had had it not been sandwiched between a pair of Owls touchdowns. Iaan Cousins capped a nine-play, 68-yard drive by the Owls on the preceding series with a 10-yard touchdown and Shepherd plunged in for his third from 1-yard out.
Davidson picked up a gift in the third when Shepherd’s pitch intended for the speedy Cousins missed its mark. Senior linebacker Jalen Jefferson scooped up the rock and rambled 37 yards for the score.
Kennesaw State added Hill’s touchdown in the third quarter to round out the scoring. The Owls’ offense dominated the clock in the second half as they have done all year when they have the lead.
Brian Bohannon is tied for the most wins in Big South Conference history with 63 wins. The Owls’ 5-3 record in the postseason also sets a new conference record for wins.
East Tennessee State will play host to the Owls in the second round on Saturday, December 4 at 2:00 pm at William B. Greene, Jr. Stadium in Johnson City, Tennessee.
Game Photo Gallery
All photos credit Jason McDonald, JM Photography for CORE360 Sports