Heading into the season, every Kennesaw State fan was looking forward to the school’s fourth-ever time playing a NCAA Division I FBS team. KSU looked great after kickoff but ultimately could not put a stop to the Cincinnati Bearcats, who reached the College Football Playoffs just a season ago.
The Owls’ defense kept the game close after the first quarter with the Owls only allowing a single touchdown after nine and a half minutes of game-time. On offense, the triple option saw some success, but that success did not bring results on the scoreboard.
The defense held strong in the second quarter with freshman linebacker, Juandarion Silas, recording his second forced fumble on the season giving the Owls amazing field position on the Bearcats’ side of the field. The offense didn’t find much success but still managed to add points to the board heading into the half down 21-3.
Things would not become easier for the Owls heading into the third quarter. KSU was confident to start the half after the defense played well through the first two quarters, but Cincinnati quickly showed KSU why they were number four in the nation with an intercepted pitch that was returned for a touchdown on the Owls’ starting drive.
Later in the quarter, the Owls were struck by the turnover bug again when Cincinnati intercepted a pass and returned it for another defensive touchdown for the Bearcats.
One bright spot for KSU’s offense was junior running back, Preston Daniels, scoring a four-yard touchdown run with nine minutes left in the game. Kennesaw State would not score again before the end of the game. With Daniels’ touchdown in the books, the Owls have now reached a double-digit scoring streak for 61 games.
Leading the pack with total tackles in each of KSU’s first two games, sophomore linebacker, Garland Benyard, helped the Owls with a team-high nine tackles with six of those tackles being solo. Benyard also managed to obtain two tackles-for-loss.
The Owls did allow various players on the field to have experience against a tough team to examine their roster heading into the rest of the season. Senior quarterback, Jonathan Murphy, saw early snaps in the first quarter and had an impressive outing against the Bearcats. Murphy went 3/4 for 51 yards through the air while also posting 28 yards on the ground. If the Owls continue to use Murphy in the future, KSU might change offensive schemes to help the throwing ability he has shown.
The Owls will have a lot to discuss before their next game. Heading into a bye week, they host Wofford at Fifth Third Bank Stadium on Sept. 24 for the home opener in Kennesaw. Kickoff will be at 6 p.m. and will also air on ESPN+.