Kennesaw State lit up the scoreboard in a 48-21 win against Davidson on Saturday.

The first-round game in the FCS playoffs featured the teams combining for 693 yards of offense. The Owls led in total yards with 417, with the majority of them coming from the run game, as they finished with 305 rushing yards.

The Owls will go on the road to face East Tennessee State at 2 p.m. Saturday in a second-round game.

Kennesaw State quarterback Xavier Shepherd finished with five total touchdowns (four rushing, one passing) while passing for 115 yards. He has 23 total touchdowns on the season.

“It was huge being able to control the game,” Shepherd said. “This whole week we talked about it being a four-quarter game and you can’t give up.”

“When you’re in the playoffs, I told our (guys), ‘It’s survive and advance,’” Owls coach Brian Bohannon said. They found a way to come out and take the game over early.”

On the second play of the game, Davidson fumbled, and the Owls recovered on the Wildcats 29. Shepherd finished the ensuing drive with a 6-yard rushing touchdown for a 7-0 lead. Both coaches knew this was a big play in the game.

“When you’re the underdog like we are, you can’t make those mistakes,” Davidson coach Scott Abell said. “It happens, but you hate to see it at that point.”

“It always goes back to getting off to a good start,” Bohannon said. “Creating some early momentum and energy, which that did.”

After Shepherd’s score on the Wildcats turnover, the Owls scored 13 consecutive points and held a 20-0 lead with 4:23 to go in the first quarter.

Kennesaw State continued to dominate and led 41-14 at halftime.

After the Wildcats scored on a scoop-and-score fumble early in the third quarter, the Owls responded with an eight play, 75-yard drive. Shepherd capped it off with a goal-line rushing touchdown.

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