Kennesaw State earns Big South title with win against Monmouth

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Credit: Christina Matacotta

Credit: Christina Matacotta

The Kennesaw State Owls clinched the Big South Conference title Saturday with a 49-17 beatdown of the Monmouth Hawks.

This is the Owls’ third Big South title in school history and their first since 2018. Because this is the last season Kennesaw State will play in the Big South, coach Brian Bohannon his players’ full effort in pursuit of the conference championship.

“I thought we came out today with a mind-set that we were going to dominate our opponent and end this the right way,” Bohannon said.

Over the past two seasons, Monmouth had the Owls’ number. In the 2020 season, played in the spring of this year, the Owls lost to Monmouth 42-17, and they lost 45-21 in 2019. Bohannon stated how much this victory meant for his team and why the Owls were so dominant.

“Since the last class left, we’ve had a few stumbling blocks,” Bohannon said. “One was at home and one was on the road. There was plenty of motivation. I had to get after our guys last week because I knew where their heads were. I was ready to get there, too, because this game meant a lot.”

The Owls had no problem running the football, as they finished with 472 yards rushing. Quarterback Xavier Shepherd finished as the leader in rushing yards and touchdowns, with 118 yards on 29 carries and four touchdowns.

“We kind of envisioned this back in August,” Shepherd said. “We got better throughout the week and produced on the field like we wanted.”

Next for Kennesaw State is an appearance in the FCS playoffs. The field for the playoffs will be announced Sunday afternoon.

After rushing touchdowns by Shepherd and running back Adeolu Adeleke, the Owls went up 14-0 in the first quarter. Shepherd scored on a 4-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter that put the Owls up 21-0.

The Hawks managed to score on a kickoff return by receiver Lonnie Moore on the ensuing possession and cut the Owls’ lead back to 14. Shepherd added another touchdown while the Hawks kicked a field goal heading into halftime, making the score 28-10.

The Owls outscored the Hawks 14-0 in the third quarter. Shepherd scored his third touchdown with a goal-line rushing touchdown while running back Iaan Cousin scored on a 38-yard rushing touchdown.

Cousin finished the game with 114 yards on three carries.

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