Kennesaw State wins first home opener

Kennesaw State quarterback Trey White ran for three touchdowns Saturday as the Owls topped Edward Waters College 58-7 in the first home game of their inaugural season.

The Owls (2-0) scored 35 points in the first quarter, propelling them to an early lead over the Tigers.

When White scored his first rushing touchdown he jumped into the student section to celebrate with his classmates.

“When I scored I was looking straight at the student section and their arms were open, so I went after it,” White said. “From the Owl Walk to kickoff, the place was rocking.”

Coach Brian Bohannon said that beginning at kickoff, the sellout crowd energized the Owls.

“That crowd was phenomenal,” Bohannon said. “I don’t know if I’ve been a part of an atmosphere like this in a long, long time.”

Bohannon said he was especially impressed by the Owls’ defense early in the game. Defensive linemen Izzy Sam and McKenzie Billings each recovered and returned a fumble for a touchdown in the first half.

Sam recorded the first Owls touchdown in Fifth Third Bank Stadium on the Tigers’ first series of the game. He said he used to play running back, but this fumble recovery was his first career touchdown.

“I just picked it up and ran,” Sam said. “In my whole life, I’ve never scored, so it was a good feeling.”

The Tigers (2-2) struggled on offense in the first half recording 13 passing yards and 15 rushing yards. For the second half, coaches and officials agreed to shorten the second half to 10-minute quarters because of the Owls’ 52-0 lead.

“The game got out of hand early,” Bohannon said. “Where that game was at (the halftime score), I thought it was the right thing to do.”

The Tigers finished the game with 203 yards of offense compared with the Owls’ 377 yards.

A 28-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Sir Jackson to running back Ray Dukes finally put the Tigers on the board in the fourth quarter.

The Tigers rallied at the end of the third quarter for a 73-yard rush by Tigers quarterback Sir Jackson. Jackson fumbled on the 11-yard line and cornerback Raymone Jennings recovered the ball at the 3-yard line.

Bohannon said the defense’s effort to stop the run with such a wide gap in the score defined what his team has to be this season.

“It was the best play of the game,” Bohannon said. “No matter what’s going on in the game, if you get 11 (players) to play with that kind of effort, we’ll be fine.”

Wide receiver Justin Sumpter caught a 55-yard pass from White for the first touchdown pass in Fifth Third Bank Stadium. Sumpter also recorded the Owls’ first touchdown reception in history against East Tennessee State on Sept. 3.

“To our passing game, I think all the credit has to go to our wide receivers,” White said. “Those guys are working all day every day in practice. They don’t take breaks. They’re not missing any reps. I think that correlates to the field.”

White was 2-of-3 passing for 70 yards and had 65 rushing yards and one touchdown.

Bohannon said although the team still has room for improvement, he was proud of being 2-0.

“There was a lot of energy on both sides of the ball,” Bohannon said. “Standing behind on the sideline today, that’s what it looked like a bunch of black jerseys going 100 miles per hour. Usually when you do that, good things happen.”