The last time Shorter and Kennesaw State squared off the Owls were in their inaugural season of play and the Hawks were new to the NCAA DII field. Kennesaw won that game 18-10 but the offense never scored a touchdown. Brian Bohannon’s offense scored five of them five years later to defeat the Hawks 35-3 and take a 2-0 lead in the series.
Kennesaw was slow out the gate but quickly found their form after watching Shorter take a 3-0 lead into the second quarter. The Owls took the opening drive of the second quarter 61 yards to the end zone. It was a statement drive. Bohannon called 10 straight running plays with quarterback Tommy Bryant toting it the final 4 yards.
Before the Owls touched down in the end zone again, the Hawks were already without their starting quarterback Aeneas Dennis. The Hawks’ offense was far more fluid with Dennis at the helm. Dennis rushed for 291 yards and threw for 469 yards as a freshman. True freshman Harold Cook replaced Dennis for the Hawks’ second series.
After an exchange of fumbles and a Hawks three-and-out, the Owls went back to work. Again they used the running game. Bryant threw only one pass on the drive, a 27-yarder to Shaquil Terry. Bryant called his own number to finish off the drive from 2 yards out.
Another injury opened the floodgates for the Owls. Defensive tackle Bruce Guyton Jr went out on a stretcher but gave a thumbs-up before being wheeled off the field. The loss of Guyton was huge. The 260-plus-pound defensive tackle anchored the defense and clogged up the A-gaps. Without him, the Owls’ 250 lb fullback Daniel Preston was able to eat. Preston gashed the Hawks for 45 yards on 7 carries.
The success of the dive play opened up the other aspects of the triple-option offense. Kyle Glover and Isaac Foster rushed for 87 and 65 yards contributing to 327 yards rushing as a team.
Kennesaw scored three touchdowns in the second half while holding the Hawks to 160 yards of total offense.
All photos by Jason McDonald, JM Photography for CORE360 Sports