The Kennesaw State Owls haven’t lost a home game in 707 days with the last defeat coming on Oct. 15, 2016, against Liberty. And while the Owls got off to a slow start against Clark Atlanta on Saturday night, KSU was able to settle in and run past the Panthers 70-13. The 70 points are the most points the Owls scored in a single game in school history.
“Early on we made some mistakes that we got to clean up,” Owls head coach Bohannon said. “I give Clark Atlanta a lot of credit. They came out and really played extremely hard. I thought they did some really good things early on. We got behind a little bit, but our kids kept fighting.”
Clark Atlanta was able to jump to a 6-0 lead after a turnover by the Owls. Running back Darnell Holland fumbled at the Owls 26-yard line early in the first quarter which led to a 17-yard touchdown pass from Clark Atlanta QB Charles Stafford to receiver Josh Banks. The Owls answered on the ensuing drive when Quarterback Chandler Burks scored on an 8-yard run to give the Owls the 7-6 lead.
The Owls’ lead would not last for long as Clark Atlanta recovered a punt that was first touched by defensive back Tanner Jones. On the next play, Stafford threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Deondre McNeil to give the Panthers the six-point lead.
From there, the Owls would take over and never look back.
From the end of the first quarter until the end of the game, the Owls would go on a 63-0 run. Running back Shaquil Terry would score on consecutive possessions to give the Owls the 21-13 lead with 4:05 left in the first half. And Burks would score on a 1-yard run with 40 seconds remaining to give the Owls the 35-13 lead before the half.
Terry would score again in the third quarter on a 50-yard run to give the Owls the 42-13 lead. He would finish the night with 70 rushing yards, 37 receiving yards and three total touchdowns. Burks also had three total touchdowns (two rushing, one passing), to go along with his 105 total yards of offense. The Owls rushed for 339 yards and it’s the third consecutive game KSU has rushed for over 300 yards this year.
But as good as the offense looked on Saturday night, it was defense and special teams that led the way for the Owls. In the second quarter, KSU was able to blow the game open when safety Jace White intercepted a pass and returned it for a 32-yard score. In the third quarter, defensive back Cole Loden blocked a punt which was recovered by linebacker Courtney Mills for a 9-yard touchdown. And linebacker Demetrius Pettiway intercepted a Stafford pass which was returned for a 56-yard score early in the fourth quarter. Overall, the Owls forced four interceptions with three coming from Stafford and the one coming from backup QB Elijah Odom.
“It’s good to see interceptions for touchdowns,” Bohannon said. “We got a little bit of pressure, [Stafford] put the ball up and we were able to make some plays.”
Along with the 63 unanswered points, the Owls scored 10 touchdowns, a new program record. And with the four interceptions, the Owls have now forced a turnover in 18 consecutive games and have recorded and an interception in 17 of the last 18 games. The Owls have already accomplished a lot this season, but Bohannon knows this team has a long ways to go in order to reach their goals for this year.
“We have a lot left out there goal-wise,” Bohannon said. “But for any accomplishment, I’m proud of our kids and staff for just buying in and making it about Kennesaw State football.”
Next up for the Owls is another home contest as they face Samford. Kickoff is set for Saturday, Sept. 29 at 6 p.m.