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Mar. 12—Following its bye week, Kennesaw State will return to the field to host Charleston Southern in the Big South Conference opener Saturday at Fifth Third Bank Stadium.
Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m.
The Owls (1-0), ranked ninth in the STATS Perform FCS poll, will be trying to win their fourth straight game against the Buccaneers, who will opening their season.
Kennesaw State beat Charleston Southern 45-23 during the 2019 season, but it was not an easy matchup. The Owls led 31-20 with 14:24 to play in the fourth quarter before a pair of late touchdowns put the game away.
"They moved the ball," Kennesaw State coach Brian Bohannon said. "They hit some big plays on us."
Charleston Southern returns most of its offense, including quarterback Jack Chambers, a preseason candidate for Big South offensive player of the year. The Lilburn native threw for 2,029 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2019, while also running for 553 yards and five touchdowns. His best game of the season came against Kennesaw State, when he threw for 296 yards and two touchdowns.
"(Chambers) makes a ton of plays with his feet," Bohannon said.
One question will be how the Buccaneers' new-look offensive line will perform against an Owls defense that held Shorter to 160 total yards, had six sacks and 11 tackles for loss in a season-opening win.
Charleston Southern has two new starters on the line, and the three returnees — Preston Nichols, Daviyon McDaniel and JT Melton — are all playing different positions. Nichols moved from right to left tackle, McDaniel from left tackle to left guard and Melton from center to right guard.
The Buccaneers' defense will be led by the line, highlighted by preseason FCS All-American Shaundre Mims, who had 10 sacks and 12 tackles for loss in 2019. He will be joined by Nick Salley, who led the Big South in tackles for loss (17.5).
Kennesaw State put up 448 yards of total offense in its last win against Charleston Southern, but following that game, the Buccaneers went on to win five of their last six to finish the year at 6-6.
The big 5-0
A victory Saturday would give Bohannon his 50th win in 65 games at the Kennesaw State helm.
He would become the fastest coach to win 50 games in Big South history. Former Coastal Carolina coach David Bennett needed 78 games.
One of this year's changes on the Charleston Southern coaching staff is former Cherokee High School quarterback Kyle Koester as its new offensive coordinator. Koester, the son of former South Cobb and South Paulding coach Ed Koester, was promoted from quarterbacks coach, the position he held in his first season with the Buccaneers.
Also on Charleston Southern are three players from Cobb County — senior linebacker Kyle Syvarth and sophomore receiver Buchi Nwaubi from Lassiter, and sophomore linebacker Will McCarty from Harrison.
On the air
The game will be streamed on ESPN+ and can be heard on the TuneIn app.
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