Owls hit road, looking for execution, success

Kennesaw State hasn’t won a road game in over a year.

This Saturday, the Owls will have a chance to break that streak as they travel to play Duquesne University (2-1), the reigning Northeast Conference champions.

In the Owls’ first away game of the season, coach Brian Bohannon and his team are ready for the opportunity to gauge how far they’ve come.

“Nothing’s end-all, be-all for us, but I do think that this is a little bit of a measuring stick of where we are especially for this football team,” Bohannon said. “To go on the road and play a team that went to playoffs last year, that’s something we want to do here. How do we measure up and how do we perform on the road?”

The last road game the Owls (1-1) won was against East Tennessee State 56-16 in both teams’ inaugural games a season ago.

Breaking their streak of losses on the road might prove difficult given that quarterback Dillon Buechel guided Duquesne to 478 yards, 227 passing, in last Saturday’s 34-20 win over Dayton.

KSU quarterback Chandler Burks is not intimidated.

“They have some winning under their belts and they have some games under their belts, which is good for them, but one thing I would say is that they haven’t seen our offense and I believe that’s going to cause trouble for them,” Burks said.

Thoughout the Owls’ bye week, linebacker Dez Billingslea has studied Buechel’s pinpoint accuracy and ability to get the ball out of his hands quickly.

“For us, (Buechel’s) going to make us be a lot more disciplined out in the field,” Billingslea said. “He’s not a very mobile guy. From what we’ve seen on film, he doesn’t take pressure well. I don’t think (running) is part of his game. I don’t think that’s something he has to worry about a lot.”

Buechel rushed for minus-37 yards against Dayton, proving the Owls could use the quarterback’s lack of mobility as an advantage.

Other threats the Owls must plan for include Dukes running back A.J. Hines, who rushed for 189 yards against Dayton, and wide receivers Blair Roberts and Wayne Capers Jr. Roberts had 59 receiving yards against Dayton while Capers led the Dukes with 143 receiving yards.

“From just watching on film they get the ball a lot,” Billingslea said. “The quarterback does a good job of getting it to the receivers. The running back is a freshman … he runs pretty well.”

Duquesne’s defense presents just as much of a challenge to the Owls. This season, the Dukes’ defense has allowed an average of 242 total yards per game, holding all three opponents to less than 100 yards rushing.

For Bohannon, the degree of success the Owls’ achieve will be determined by how well they execute.

“We always have wrinkles of stuff that we could … try to do, but I think it’s just about … executing, playing fast and playing with championship effort. If we can do that … I think we’ll have a chance to be competitive,” Bohannon said.