Owls gear up for football
Excitement building for another banner season
KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug 27, 2019) — At the start of August, the Kennesaw University football team began preseason workouts in preparation for another banner football season. Kennesaw State, entering just its fifth year of intercollegiate play, has quickly risen to become one of the NCAA’s top programs in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).
The Owls are ranked No. 10 in the STATS FCS Preseason Top 25 Poll heading into the upcoming campaign. They have been rated among the nation’s top 10 in 14 straight polls, dating back to final ranking of the 2017 season, and for 19 consecutive weeks have appeared in the top 25.
KSU also enters the year at 10th in the American Football Coaches Association FCS Preseason poll.
In 2019, the black and gold will try to become the first team in Big South Conference history to capture three outright football championships in a row. Kennesaw State has won its last 10 conference games and is the preseason favorite to claim the Big South title again this year, according to the league’s head coaches and media panel.
After advancing to the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs and putting together an overall record of 23-4 during the past two seasons, the Owls are now heading into another chapter of their football history, but the expectations remain the same.
“The one thing about us that’s unique is that our goals have never changed here,” KSU head coach Brian Bohannon said. “We want to be a championship football program, national championship first. In order to get to a national championship, you have to win the Big South. And we want to protect the Nest (Fifth Third Bank Stadium) and be special at home.”
KSU lost its first big corps of players following the 2018 season and now has several talented players vying for starting assignments, especially on offense. Eight starters are back from a defensive unit that finished second in the FCS in total defense last year, but the offense returns just a single starter.
After the team’s first practices, Bohannon seemed pleased.
“I think the attitude has been good on the football team, collectively as a whole,” he said. “There are so many holes we’re trying to fill. There are some guys really working hard and there’s been a lot of positives.”
Projected to be the first-team quarterback is Daniel David, who earned his Bachelor of Science in sport management from Kennesaw State last month. David, who is entering his fourth year in the program after transferring from Appalachian State University, has played in 25 career games for the Owls but never started.
Despite never being KSU’s No. 1 signal-caller, Bohannon believes David can easily handle the assignment.
“He’s been good, been steady,” Bohannon said of David. “The big thing we talk about with quarterbacks are just to run the offense, take care of the ball and make good decisions, and so far he’s really done a good job with that. I think he’s trying to take on some leadership role as well, that’s the nature of the position, but he’s been solid and done a good job.”
Entering his final season of eligibility, David has been preparing to lead Kennesaw State to even more success on the football field.
“I’ve spent the preseason working on my fundamentals and leadership,” David said. “We lost a lot of great leaders and we need guys to step in to leadership roles, be more vocal and lead by example.”
David is replacing Chandler Burks, an All-American and the Big South Offensive Player of the Year the past two seasons. Last year, Burks finished as the runner-up in the voting for the Walter Payton Award, which recognizes the nation’s top offensive player in the FCS.
“He was a great vocal leader,” David said of Burks. “Just observing him the past three years, it’s helped me out a tremendous amount and I’m forever grateful for that.”
With 28 lettermen gone from last year’s squad, many of whom were in the program from the beginning and played on the offensive side of the ball, there are several new faces on the Owls’ 2019 roster.
“They set a culture for us, the gold standard,” David said of his former teammates. “It’s definitely going to be hard to replace them, but what they left and all of the things we learned from them is amazing – the hard work, leadership and just how to play the game.
“We’ve got a lot of great young guys that can go out there and play. There are leaders stepping up on the [offensive] line and we have some really good players in the slot [back] room.”
KSU opens its 2019 schedule when hosting Point University on Saturday, Aug. 31 with kickoff scheduled for 6 p.m. Kennesaw State’s next home game is against another in-state opponent, Reinhardt University, on Sept. 28 when the new KSU Athletics Hall-of-Fame class is introduced. The homecoming contest is slated for Oct. 12 when the Owls welcome conference foe Charleston Southern University to town and two weeks later, a concert by country music star and Cobb County native Zach Seabaugh follows Kennesaw State’s home matchup with the University of North Alabama.
In all, KSU has six regular-season home dates, and Bohannon would appreciate support for his exciting, hard-working team throughout the fall.
“Come see us and buy season tickets,” Bohannon said. “We need to fill the [Fifth Third] Bank [Stadium]!”
This year’s game-day experience features Owl Town, a free tailgate party that begins three hours before kickoff and is open to the public. Owl Town provides a fun and festive atmosphere for all ages with live music, vendors and inflatable games. Free food is available to the first 200 fans while alcohol, soft drinks and water can be purchased.
More information about tailgating, parking, stadium policies and much more is on the Kennesaw State University Football Game Day Central page.
Tickets for 2019 are still available. The KSU Department of Athletics offers season tickets, a three-game flex plan and single-game tickets. Follow this link for helpful information to prepare for gameday.
— Steve Ruthsatz
Photography by Jason Getz
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its nearly 43,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.