Kennesaw State RB Shaq Terry rediscovers confidence

Credit: Cecil Copeland

Credit: Cecil Copeland

As soon as Shaquil Terry heard the play-call in the third quarter of Saturday’s game against Clark Atlanta, he felt something switch on inside him.

He practiced the same play all week and knew his teammates could hit their blocks hard enough for him to gain a few yards, but he never thought the play would break open for a 50-yard touchdown.

“It was just awesome (running) the 50 yards and to actually make an impact in the game and stiff-arm somebody,” Terry said. “That was pretty incredible. I didn’t know I had it in me, honestly.”

The 50-yard run was one of three touchdowns the Kennesaw State sophomore running back scored Saturday in the Owls’ 70-13 win— a game which instilled a confidence in Terry that he hasn’t felt in college.

Terry’s time at Kennesaw State has been riddled with injuries. He’s worked through ankle and shoulder injuries, which left him unable to produce anywhere near the 107-yard game he had against Clark Atlanta.

“It made me feel like I was back in high school all over again and back to my normal self because it’s been hard for me these past couple semesters just because of injuries and stuff,” Terry said. “Just having three touchdowns, that was just big and amazing.”

Terry is unsure if coaches will play him Saturday against Samford because he’s one of several Owls stricken with a virus this week, but if available, he looks forward to walking on the field with his newfound confidence.

Terry realized, however, it will be more difficult for any Owl to score multiple touchdowns on Samford’s defense than it was against last week’s Division II opponent.

Samford is on a three-game losing streak after winning its season opener, but Kennesaw State coach Brian Bohannon thinks the team is on the edge of turning its season around after its near victory at Florida State on Sept. 8 caused the team to skid.

“This is a playoff team, preseason favorite to win their conference,” Bohannon said. “This is going to be there rallying point Saturday night at 6 o’clock.”

The only team to defeat Kennesaw State in the 2017 regular season, Samford is allowing opponents an average of 116 rushing yards this season behind defensive returners such as senior defensive end Ahmad Gooden.

Because Samford saw Kennesaw State’s offense twice last season and plays the option several times each season when facing teams like the Citadel, Wofford and Furman, Bohannon said the Bulldogs’ defense might be the best the Owls have seen all season.

The only team to defeat Kennesaw State in the 2017 regular season, Samford is allowing opponents an average of 116 rushing yards this season.

“They know what they’re trying to get done, and so it’s going to be a challenge,” Bohannon said. “It was the last two times we played them, I mean, it’s a challenge to move up and down the field and move the football get first downs, so we’re going to have to be ready to go.”

Kennesaw State and Samford will kick off at 6 p.m. Saturday at Fifth Third Bank Stadium and can be watched on ESPN3.