KSU looks for fourth win in a row as it hosts Austin Peay in seasons' final home game

Nov. 11—KENNESAW — Kennesaw State will try to win its fourth straight game Saturday when it hosts Austin Peay in ASUN action at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.

The Owls (5-4, 1-2) are coming off their most impressive victory of the season, a 44-27 over then No. 15 UT Martin, while the Governors (6-3, 2-2) held off a 21-point fourth-quarter rally by North Alabama to post a 38-35 win last week. It is the first meeting between the programs. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.

For Kennesaw State, despite its worst start to a season in the short eight-year history, it still has a potential path to a share of the conference championship and a possible FCS playoff berth if things fall right, but it all starts with beating Austin Peay this week and Eastern Kentucky next.

"We have two games left. They are both conference games. The conference race is wide open right now," coach Brian Bohannon said.

During the current three-game win streak, KSU is averaging 35.6 points per game. It will likely have to have a similar output to knock off the Governors, which come in with the top-ranked defense in the ASUN and the No. 10 overall unit in FCS. They are allowing only 22.4 points and only 229.6 yards per game — which includes allowing only 110.2 yards a game rushing.

This could be the best test for the Owls' running game which is rounding into shape. During the win streak it is back to playing what Bohannon calls "Kennesaw State football," as it is averaging 253 yards a game including 283 last week against UT Martin.

Defensively, KSU is still giving up more yards (360.2) and points (34.3) than it is accustomed, but one thing that has started to come to the forefront is its ability to take the ball away for its opponent. After intercepting five passes last week, the Owls now have forced 24 turnovers, which is a conference best. It's one of the main reasons why Bohannon said the defense is greatly improved from early in the year.

That will be tested by Austin Peay quarterback Mike DiLiello, who has thrown for 2,096 yards and 21 touchdowns. Drae McCray is his favorite target and he has caught 54 passed for 834 yards and nine touchdowns. Three backs have also run for more than 430 yards. CJ Evans is the leading rusher with 558 yards and six touchdowns. Jevon Jackson has run for 485 yards and two scores and DiLiello has picked up 437 yards and nine touchdowns.

"They are a good football team," Bohannon said. "The quarterback can run and throw. He likes to run the ball and they can score points in waves."


KSU seems to be about as healthy as it has been all season. However, that doesn't mean they won't be missing a couple of significant players. Offensive lineman Jordan Love and defensive lineman Kelcy Allen are both out with lower body injuries. Running backs Iaan Cousin and Nykeem Farrow, linebackers Juan Silas and Montrel Jenkins, offensive lineman Terrell Paxton and defensive back Markeith Montgomery are all listed as questionable.


The Owls will recognize 13 seniors prior to kickoff. The class has gone 38-11 over the past four fall seasons. It has also been a part of three FCS playoff appearances.


The game can be seen on ESPN+ and heard on the KSU Owls app.