Kennesaw State unable to slow Central Arkansas’ offense



Kennesaw State is set to join Conference USA in 2024, but the Owls showed there still is much work to be done before making that leap.

Kennesaw State allowed 543 total yards on Saturday against Central Arkansas, which defeated the Owls 51-24 in an ASUN Conference football game at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.

“It’s hard to say, but they were better than us today. We got our butts kicked,” Kennesaw State coach Brian Bohannon said. “Got outcoached, outplayed; they were better than us.”

Darius Hale ran for 170 yards and scored two touchdowns for Central Arkansas (3-4, 2-0). Hale averaged 7.4 yards on 23 carries. Bears quarterback Will McElvain had 292 yards passing and threw for two touchdowns, and wideout Christian Richmond caught 12 passes for 156 yards and two TDs.

The Bears broke open the game in the second quarter; the contest was tied at 7 after one period.

Trailing 27-10 at halftime, the Owls (2-4, 1-2) showed signs of life in the third quarter. Kennesaw State cut its deficit to 10 points midway through the period after a 53-yard touchdown catch by Yesiah Clemons.

Markeith Montgomery’s interception on the next drive presented another opportunity for Kennesaw State’s offense, but the Owls couldn’t capitalize.

Instead, Central Arkansas answered with another score and led 34-17.

One of the few bright spots for the Owls happened on special teams.

Gabriel Benyard recovered a muffed punt that jump-started the offense en route to its first score.

Later in the second quarter, a fake-punt rush by Carlos Allen gained 31 yards and gave the Owls excellent field position. Kennesaw State missed the field-goal attempt, though.

“Those two things were good, but we didn’t get any points,” Bohannon said. “It was good, it was fun, it was momentum, but we didn’t get any points.”

The Owls also failed to take advantage of a lost fumble by Central Arkansas.

Xavier Shepherd threw for 211 yards for Kennesaw State.