#3 Kennesaw State 2018 FCS Football Preview

Kennesaw State Owls
Overall Rank: #3
#1 Big South
 Kennesaw State Logo
In just the team’s third year in existence, Kennesaw State made a memorable playoff run. After knocking off Samford and Jacksonville State, the Owls nearly pulled off another upset in the quarterfinals against Sam Houston State. Coach Brian Bohannon has done an amazing job building the program in a very short amount of time. With plenty of experience back, the Owls will again dominate the Big South and probably make another deep playoff run.
2017 Record: 12-2, 5-0
2017 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Brian Bohannon (26-10 at Kennesaw State, 26-10 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Grant Chesnut
Defensive Coordinator: Brian Newberry
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Chandler Burks, QB, 1,103 yards
Passing: Chandler Burks, QB, 1,307 yards
Receiving: Justin Sumpter, WR, 610 yards
Tackles: Bryson Armstrong, LB, 114
Sacks: Bryson Armstrong, LB, 11.0
Interceptions: Bryson Armstrong, LB, 3; Jace White, DB, 3
Other Key Returnees: RB Shaquil Terry, RB Jake McKenzie, RB Darnell Holland, OL CJ Collins, OL Joseph Alexander, OL Ryan Warrior, LB Anthony Gore, DL Desmond Johnson, K Justin Thompson
Key Losses: OL Zach Mitchler, OL Matt Frank, DL Tonarius Portress, DB Keon Roman, LB Izzy Sam, DB Taylor Henkle, DB Akebren Ralls
Kennesaw State boasted the best rushing offense in the FCS last year, averaging over 330 yards per game on the ground. And their top six rushers are back so this will once again be a very dynamic spread option offense. It starts with quarterback Chandler Burks who led the team with 1,103 yards and 18 touchdowns on the ground. Shaquil Terry, Jake McKenzie and Darnell Holland are all talented backs who rushed for at least 700 yards in 2017. Burks will throw the ball on occasion too. Last season he threw for 1,307 yards and nine touchdowns while limiting his interceptions to just three. That is one reason why the Owls topped the national list in turnover margin. With Justin Sumpter back at wide receiver, the Owls do have a consistent deep threat who can make big plays in the passing game. And with three starters back on the offensive line, the Owls have everything they need to be one of the most potent offenses in the country.
The defense, which allowed just 15.5 points per game last year, has some superstars of their own. Bryson Armstrong won the Jerry Rice Award as the FCS’ best freshman after tallying 114 tackles, 11.0 sacks and three interceptions in 2017. The linebacker is poised for another huge season. With some pass rushing help from the likes of Desmond Johnson and Anthony Gore, the Owls will do a superb job getting to the quarterback and stuffing the run. It is in the secondary where there are concerns. Jace White proved to be a quality playmaker, but there are some big holes to fill with the loss of Keon Roman, Taylor Henkle and Akebren Ralls.
The Bottom Line:
Kennesaw State is challenging themselves a little more in non-conference play this year. They open the season at Georgia State, their first ever FBS opponent. There are also non-conference contests against Samford, who they lost to last year in the regular season before beating in the playoffs, and Jacksonville State, who they also beat in the playoffs. Those will be the biggest games on the schedule with the Owls the clear favorites in the Big South. An October 27th trip to Charleston Southern and a November 10th date at Monmouth will be the two conference games that could prevent Kennesaw State from sweeping through the Big South with a perfect record.
Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs
2017 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 330.2 (1st in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 104.9 (120, 5)
Total Offense: 435.1 (19, 1)
Scoring Offense: 30.1 (30, 2)
Rushing Defense: 102.1 (12, 1)
Pass Defense: 199.4 (39, 3)
Total Defense: 301.4 (12, 1)
Scoring Defense: 15.5 (7, 1)
Turnover Margin: 1.64 (1, 1)
Sacks: 2.21 (51, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 0.71 (4, 1)
HERO Sports 2018 Recruit Rankings:
#123 Markeith Montgomery
#166 Je'Cory Burks
#197 Desmond Scott
#234 Terrell Paxton