In Kennesaw State’s four-year existence, Fifth Third Bank Stadium has proved to be a treacherous venue for visiting opponents.
Before Saturday’s game, Kennesaw State owned a 26-4 record at home and were winners of 17 consecutive home regular-season matchups. The Owls’ last home loss came against Liberty in 2016.
Enter the Monmouth Hawks.
After the watching the Owls clinch the Big South title on their home field last season, the Hawks exacted revenge with a 45-21 victory Saturday. Monmouth earned its seventh win and improved to 4-0 in the Big South standings.
“We got our butts kicked today,” Kennesaw State coach Brian Bohannon said. “We got out-coached, got out-played and got out-executed any way you look at it. We couldn’t get anything going to get them off the field.”
The Hawks’ spread attack caused problems for the Owls’ third-ranked scoring defense. After punting on their first two drives, Monmouth scored on their next seven possessions. They scored 42 consecutive points before the Owls (7-2, 2-1) stopped the bleeding with late in the third quarter.
Monmouth put up 517 yards of offense behind senior quarterback Kenji Bahar. The veteran signal-caller was 20-for-27 passing and threw for 332 yards. He accounted for two touchdowns, including a 65-yard scamper into the end zone.
“They had a solid game plan that they came with today,” junior running back Shaq Terry said. The guys were ready to play.”
The Hawks’ aggressive style stifled the Owls. Several receivers ran free and collected chunk plays in the secondary. Monmouth averaged 16.6 yards per completion and had receptions of 92 and 55 yards.
Junior wideout Zach Tredway has seven catches for 162 yards and a touchdown. His 92-yard bubble screen was the final nail in a lost night for the Owls.
Behind on the scoreboard, Kennesaw State found it difficult to climb out of the early hole. Monmouth made a concerted effort to stop the Owls’ triple-option attack by packing eight defenders in the box.
“We had to offensively move the ball early,” Bohannon said. “... We weren’t able to do that and they started to lean on us a little bit.”
The Owls were a dismal 3-for-12 on third-down conversions and registered 18 first downs. Missed opportunities haunted them early as senior quarterback Daniel David overthrew freshman Jalen Jackson on a potential touchdown.
Later in the second quarter, the Owls had a turnover on downs and an interception on back-to-back possessions. The Hawks responded as senior defensive back Tymere Berry returned the interception 41 yards for a touchdown.
“We would get a little something going, but we just couldn’t sustain anything,” Bohannon said. That’s something that we got to be able to do.”
David had 56 total yards in the game. Junior backup Tommy Bryant was effective with 132 total yards and two rushing touchdowns.
The Owls will be back in action next weekend against Campbell.
“I think what makes you who you are is how you respond,” Bohannon said. “I think it will be a really big part of our football team right now. It’s how we go through stuff that, honestly guys, has never happened here.”
After the game, Bohannon provided an update on freshman tight end Adrian Jackson. In the second quarter, Jackson was carted off the field with an apparent injury. He was taken to Kennestone Hospital for further testing.
“He was able to move and able to talk,” Bohannon said. “He did have some stinging sensations that were merited to make sure everything was right.”
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