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Mar. 17—Kennesaw State is stepping up the competition in its non-conference schedule for the fall season.
The Owls will be taking on Reinhardt, Georgia Tech, Wofford and Jacksonville State to set the stage for the team's final season as part of the Big South Conference.
Kennesaw State released the schedule Wednesday.
"I would say it's the most challenging schedule since we've been here, and that's good," Owls coach Brian Bohannon said during an interview on the athletic website. "Every year, we've grown in our program, and the opportunities we have with this non-conference schedule, I think it will be exciting for our kids, I think it will be exciting for our fan base, and it's a unique schedule. It's tough. You look at it — you have an FBS opponent down the road, and all these conference champions lined up one after another on the schedule before we ever get to our conference. It's going to be a challenge, but we're excited about the opportunity. I think it will be great for our program."
Kennesaw State will open the schedule Sept. 4 when it host Reinhardt, its neighbors from Cherokee County. It will be the second meeting between the Owls and the perennial NAIA playoff team. The first came in 2019, in a 31-7 weather-shortened win.
The following week, Kennesaw State will travel to downtown Atlanta and face its first Power 5 program when it takes on Georgia Tech.
It will be the Owls' third game against a Football Championship Subdivision opponent, following close losses to Georgia State in 2018 and Kent State in 2019. As an added bonus, Kennesaw State season-ticket holders will be guaranteed a seat in Bobby Dodd Stadium for the Sept. 11 matchup.
"What an awesome opportunity for our kids, our program and especially our fan base to go down and play Georgia Tech, a team with a ton of tradition and history," said Bohannon, who spent five seasons as an assistant with the Yellow Jackets under former coach Paul Johnson. "What a great opportunity."
On Sept. 18, Kennesaw State will travel to Spartanburg, South Carolina, for its third matchup — but first regular-season game — with 2019 Southern Conference champion Wofford.
The Owls won the first two meetings — a 13-10 second round Football Championship Subdivision playoff victory at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in 2018, followed by an opening-round 28-21 victory at Wofford's Gibbs Stadium in 2019.
After a bye week, Kennesaw State will close the non-conference portion of its schedule when it hosts Jacksonville State on Oct. 2.
The Owls have a 2-0 all-time mark against the Gamecocks, who they will join in the ASUN Conference in 2022. Jacksonville State will be charter members of the ASUN's new football alignment, after winning the Ohio Valley Conference five of the last six seasons.
The Owls went on the road to beat the Gamecocks in the first road playoff game in program history, a 17-7 victory in 2017. The Owls then won arguably the most memorable game in program history when they beat the Gamecocks 60-52 in five overtimes in 2018 at the Atlanta Braves' Truist Park.
"They are a team we have a history with as well, with several of what I'd call knock-down drag-outs with Jacksonville State, and I don't think this will be any different," Bohannon said.
In all, Kennesaw State will have five home games during the fall season. The Big South schedule will be released later this spring, with the Owls likely to have a home game against 2019 conference champion Monmouth.
Kennesaw State also announced there would be no price increase for season tickets in the fall.
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