In the biggest game of Kennesaw State’s short football history, unlucky breaks caused the Owls to fall short against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Sept. 11.
Just a quick drive down I-75 pitted a match-up between the Yellow Jackets and the Owls on a warm, early September afternoon. The Owls came into the game with high hopes of beating their in-state, Power Five foes. Throughout the game, KSU seemed like they could possibly breakthrough on a few big plays, but the mistakes started on the second drive.
Sophomore quarterback Xavier Shepherd went to pitch the ball on the well-known triple-option scheme that Coach Brian Bohannon runs. However, the big defensive lineman, Jordan Domineck of Tech stuck out his big paw to swat the pitch away. As he picked up the loose ball, he took it seventy yards, stiff-arming two players, one being Shepherd and the other Charlie Thomas, his own teammate, to give him the last lead block to score.
KSU then had multiple punts, a 46-yard field goal from senior kicker, Nathan Robertson. Tech started the game on a roll, scoring on their first three drives, making the game 24-3 at halftime.
Coming out of the half, Tech seemed to continue that dominance after a 16-yard pass from Jordan Yates to Kalani Norris, making it a 31-3 game. However, the next three drives seemed to show the Owls turning the tide for once. Coach Danny Verpaele seemed to get his defense on track as they forced a punt on each of the next three Georgia Tech drives, yet the offense still stuttered to find any solid ground to push forward.
Within the first minute of the fourth quarter, Tech’s Thomas got his second interception of the day, which set up a 40-yard touchdown pass from Yates to Northwestern University transfer Kyric McGowan. This last score seemed to ice the game, but for KSU, it seemed to breathe new life into the offense.
Sophomore Iaan Cousin took the pitch and rumbled his way down the sideline for an impressive 54-yard touchdown run. Next, KSU recovered the onside kick and went down for another touchdown. The next one was a 39-yard strike from Shepherd to Adeolu Adeleke. After this score, the Owls were somewhat within striking distance with a score of 38-17, but this would be it, as Tech would go down the field and put the game to rest with an 11-yard touchdown run by Dontae Smith.
KSU has nothing to hang their heads about after this game. If the Owls can cut down on some of the unwanted turnovers and some of the undisciplined penalties, they can go on a run into the postseason.
KSU will return home on Oct. 2 against Jacksonville State and will begin conference play against Hampton on Oct. 9.