Kennesaw State wrapped up Homecoming week with a 14-0 win over North Carolina A&T while hosting a record-breaking crowd on Saturday, Oct. 16.
The Owls settled into the Nest by bringing home their fourth consecutive win, extending their record to 5-1. Fifth Third Bank Stadium saw a record 9,556 attendees, with 3,097 attendees being students.
The Aggies were held to only 31 rushing yards due to KSU’s powerhouse defensive line, leading this to be their third-lowest rushing yards allowed in program history. North Carolina remained scoreless for the first time since Oct. 4, 2014.
KSU also successfully blocked a punt, adding to their repertoire. It was the first blocked punt since Mar. 13, 2021, and the 10th overall blocked punt in the program’s seven-year history.
Quarterback Xavier Shepherd set a new personal best for passing yards while leading the offense. Shepherd achieved 129 passing yards, along with 66 rushing yards with just 25 carries. Shepherd added his 10th and 11th rushing touchdowns to his collection for the season. The sophomore is now tied for first place in the FCS for rushing touchdowns.
Linebacker Evan Thompson was also locked in for Saturday’s game. Thompson secured a career-high of 12 tackles and three tackles-for-loss while assisting the defense in shutting down any opportunity the Aggies had.
During the Aggies’ first drive of the game, the team missed an attempt at a 25-yard field goal before the ending of the first quarter. The first quarter highlighted the grittiness of both teams’ defense.
KSU started the second quarter on the 20-yard line after forcing a punt. The Owls were successfully able to move the ball 80 yards with the help of running back Irving Smith.
Smith had a 34-yard reception which set the Owls up in a perfect position to score. Shepherd rushed for a touchdown to put the Owls on the board before heading into halftime, leaving NC A&T scoreless before the half since 2016.
Smith’s 34-yard reception broke his previously held 14-yard record at Hampton on Oct. 9. The senior also achieved a career-high of 64 yards with just two catches.
KSU held NC A&T to only eight rushing yards throughout the first half, not letting up on the Aggies.
Shepherd targeted Smith in a 29-yard pass resulting in the ball once again entering Aggie territory at the one-yard line late third quarter. Shepherd rushed into the end zone gaining his 11th touchdown.
KSU went on to win their seventh consecutive win at home.
KSU’s next Big South matchup is taking place on Saturday, Oct. 23 against the Campbell Fighting Camels in Buies Creek, N.C.