Kennesaw State at Jacksonville State FCS Football 2017 Playoffs Second Round Breakdown

Kennesaw State is truly on a roll, having now run off eleven straight wins. Unfortunately, six of those were against substandard opponents. You can only play who they put in front of you, but that’s doesn’t mean you’re prepared for stronger competition. The First Round offered the Owls a chance at redemption. A change in venue seemed to help some, as that opening season loss at Samford became a win at home. As noted last week, the Owls appear to be improving as the season progresses. Now, another step up in competition and a game on the road. This road trip is pretty terrestrial though, as Atlanta metro to Jacksonville, Alabama isn’t even a full tank of gas. Which bird will reign supreme, the Owl or the Gamecock?
Jacksonville State is chomping at the bit to get the playoffs underway after last season’s early exit. Welcoming a playoff newcomer has to be exciting and mysterious. The Gamecock defense will be put to the test early and often in this showdown. Their #2 rated rushing defense (62 ypg) against KSU’s #1 rushing offense (339 ypg). This is the immovable object versus the irresistible force in full color and high definition. The fact that JSU runs the ball efficiently also, #14 in FCS, makes this almost feel like an old service academy game.
Both teams run, run, then run on third down again. If this is how this game really unfolds, it might be the fastest played game in the playoffs. Both defenses see prolific rushing attacks in practice every week, all week. Both should be well prepared. Turnovers, penalties and special teams may rule the day in this tilt. Nobody is better in turnover margin than Kennesaw State.
Projection: Upset Special...Kennesaw State 13, Jacksonville State 10