#6 Kennesaw State FCS Football 2022 Preview

Kennesaw State Owls
Overall Rank: #6
 Kennesaw State Logo
Under Coach Brian Bohannon, Kennesaw State has turned into a consistent threat in the FCS Playoffs. Not counting the shortened 2020 season, the Owls have reached the playoffs each year from 2017 to 2021. And it is not like they are just getting to the playoffs; Kennesaw State has won at least one game in each of those playoff appearances. They will be looking for more of the same in 2022.
2021 Record: 11-2, 7-0
2021 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Brian Bohannon (63-18 at Kennesaw State, 63-18 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Grant Chesnut
Defensive Coordinator: Danny Verpaele
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Xavier Shepherd, QB, 867 yards
Passing: Xavier Shepherd, QB, 1,341 yards
Receiving: Iaan Cousin, RB, 337 yards
Tackles: Kerick Reese, DL, 39
Sacks: Kerick Reese, DL, 4.5
Interceptions: Erwin Byrd, DB, 2; Markeith Montgomery, DB, 2
Other Key Returnees: QB Jordan Murphy, RB Iaan Cousin, RB Nykeem Farrow, RB Preston Daniels, OL Zion Katina, OL Terrell Paxton, LB Garland Benyard, DB Je’Cory Burks, DL Travis Bell, DL Desmond Scott, DL Carlos Allen, DL Joel Parker
Key Losses: RB Kyle Glover, RB Adeolu Adeleke, WR Caleb O’Neal, OL Jake Lassiter, OL William Nana Fabu, LB Chance Bates, DB Cole Loden, DB Java’n Singletary, DB Welton Spottsville, LB Xavier Reddick
The Owls consistently have one of the best ground games in the FCS. Last year they rushed for 278.6 yards per game, ranking third in the nation. It is quarterback Xavier Shepherd that leads the ground game and rushed for a team high 867 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also threw for 1,341 yards with 15 more touchdowns. Iaan Cousin, Nykeem Farrow and Preston Daniels will all be dangerous options out of the backfield and this will again be one of the best rushing teams in the FCS. The passing game could take a step back without top receiver Caleb O’Neal. Kennesaw State does not need a great passing game, but they at least need the threat.
The defense has a little reloading to do, but that has not been a problem for Coach Bohannon recently. The Owls will rely heavily on an experienced front line, led by Kerick Reese. Reese recorded 39 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 2021, but there is a talented group beside him that should help boost their paltry sack total from a year ago. Linebacker Garland Benyard is a nice piece to build around at linebacker and the secondary has a few proven playmakers as well. Despite the holes that need filled, there appears to be enough talent on the roster to keep Kennesaw State a dangerous team in the playoffs.
The Bottom Line:
Kennesaw State starts with three non-conference games against Samford, Cincinnati and Wofford. Following those three games, the Owls face conference foes Jacksonville State, North Alabama and Central Arkansas. Then there is another stretch of non-conference games, including an interesting game at Tennessee-Martin. The season ends with a couple more ASUN games against Austin Peay and Eastern Kentucky.
Projected Postseason:  FCS Playoffs
2021 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 278.6 (3rd in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 123.5 (116, 8)
Total Offense: 402.2 (34, 2)
Scoring Offense: 32.4 (23, 1)
Rushing Defense: 105.9 (11, 1)
Pass Defense: 205.5 (35, 1)
Total Defense: 311.5 (16, 1)
Scoring Defense: 19.5 (18, 1)
Turnover Margin: 0.00 (62, 6)
Sacks: 2.00 (62, 7)
Sacks Allowed: 0.46 (1, 1)