The Kennesaw State football team is back on top. On Saturday, the Owls took on Monmouth in the Big South Conference Championship and came away with a 49-17 victory. KSU has now won the Big South title three times in the last five seasons, and it’s the first conference title for the squad since 2018.
The Owls (10-1, 7-0 Big South Conference), had one of the best games in school history in terms of running the football. They rushed for 471 yards, and quarterback Xavier Shepherd led the way with 126 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Iaan Cousin also had a strong game on the ground, rushing for 114 yards and one touchdown on just three carries.
KSU jumped on Monmouth (7-4, 6-1) early, leading the contest 21-0 midway through the second quarter. After Shephard scored on a 4-yard run to give the Owls the 21-point lead, Monmouth got on the board with a 91-yard kickoff return from Lonnie Moore IV. The Owls answered on the ensuing drive with an 11-play, 85-yard drive that ended with a Shepherd 1-yard run. Monmouth responded with an 8-play, 43-yard drive which resulted in a 39-yard field goal from Nick Mullens.
The second half started with a 13-play, 79-yard drive that ended with a Shepherd 1-yar run. Later in the quarter, Cousin scored on a 38-yard run to give the Owls the 32-point lead. The Monmouth offense scored its first touchdown of the game late in the fourth quarter when Tony Muskett threw a 52-yard pass to Terrance Greene Jr. The Owls responded when backup QB Jonathan Murphy threw a 48-yard TD pass to wide receiver Carter Pinholster.
On the Owls’ opening drive of the game, Shepherd scored on a 9-yard run. That was set up when running back Irving Smith took a pitch and ran 40 yards. Later in the first quarter, running back Adeolu Adeleke scored on a 61-yard run.
Defensively, the Owls allowed just 30 rushing yards, which is a season-low. The Owls also recorded five sacks for the first time since 2019. Defensive lineman Kerick Reese led the way with five tackles one tackle for loss, one sack and one forced fumble.
This is the final season for the Owls in the Big South Conference as they will move to the Atlantic Sun Conference next season. Head coach Bian Bohannon finished his career in the conference with a 29-8 record in seven seasons. He has also posted 62 overall career wins, which is one shy of tying the Big South career wins record set by David Bennett of Coastal Carolina.
The Owls will now get ready for the FCS playoffs. They will know if they get a first-round bye or not on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. ET on the FCS selection show.