FCS Playoffs: Top FCS Rushing Offenses Grounded By Stellar Defenses As Kennesaw State Survives and Advances, 13-10

Photo courtesy Anthony Stalcup/MDJ Online

KENNESAW, Ga. – With the score tied 10-10 and 2:10 remaining, Kennesaw State’s Anthony Gore, Jr. sacked quarterback Joe Newman, who fumbled the ball. The Owls’ Andrew Butcher recovered the ball at the Wofford 21-yard line, and four plays later Justin Thompson kicked a 30-yard field goal with 1:52 remaining to ultimately give Kennesaw State a 13-10 victory.

In a game touted as a matchup between two option teams with prolific rushing offenses, it was defense that was the story of the day with both Wofford and Kennesaw State being held well under their season averages in rushing. The Terriers were held to an average of only 1.7 yards per carry, while Owls QB Chandler Burks was held without a touchdown for just the second time in 16 games.

“The ultimate goal when you get to the playoffs is to survive and advance. And we survived and advanced and we’ll get to practice next week,” Kennesaw State head coach Brian Bohannon said. “By the time the day is over there will be eight football teams left in Division I FCS. For the second year in a row we get a chance to go to the quarterfinals with a four-year old program. I think there is a lot of things we have to get excited about and we are not done. We have a lot of work to do. I’m proud of our kids and I’m proud of our staff. We found a way.”

Sandwiched between a scoreless first and third quarter was a second quarter that had both teams entering halftime tied at 1o, with both touchdowns coming on big plays. RB Darnell Holland ripped a 53 yard touchdown run to give Kennesaw State an early lead, but Wofford QB Joe Newman would connect with D’mauriae Van Cleave for a 57 yard touchdown to tie it up.

A pair of long field goals, a 45 yarder by Wofford’s Luke Carter and a 40 yarder by Thompson knotted the game at 10 until the late fumble set up Justin’s late game-winner.

“You knew it would come down to one play at the end and they ended up making one more play than we did,” Wofford head coach Josh Conklin said. “And that’s sometimes how these games go down. You accept it and you get better. We are going to keep moving forward, see if we can at some point in time play in the National Championship because this playoff stuff is a lot of fun.”

Kennesaw State will host South Dakota State next week at Fifth Third Bank Stadium, with a kickoff time of 2:00 PM. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN3.