FOOTBALL FALLS TO #2 KENNESAW STATE
WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ - Behind 412 rushing yards and 44 unanswered points, Kennesaw State defeated the Monmouth University football team to win the Big South Championship on Saturday, 51-14. Monmouth went ahead 14-7 with 11:22 left in the second quarter, but the Owls would score the next six touchdowns to go along with a 40-yard field goal to win their second straight conference title. Kennesaw State converted 69% of its third down opportunities, and held the Hawks to just 29%. Owls running back Darnell Holland rushed nine times for 195 yards and three touchdowns, while quarterback Chandler Burks extending his FCS-leading rushing touchdown total to 26. The Hawks lose at home for the first time since October 29, 2016, snapping a 10-game streak. Sophomore Pete Guerriero and freshman Juwon Farri each scored a rushing touchdown in the loss. The team will travel to Gardner-Webb next Saturday for the regular season finale. NOTES AND QUOTES
"I thought going into the game we had a good plan on both sides of the ball and I thought you saw in the first half the benefit of that plan. I thought we were doing good things on both sides of the ball. It was a three-point ball game at halftime and we went out into the second half and it kind of just got away from us a little bit. They are a tremendous team. They have a very good defense and they were able to get our offense off the field in the third and fourth quarters. On offense, they have excellent spend and they were able to get on the perimeter and hurt us with that. We hoped for a different outcome with today's game, but we will rally and be ready for next week." – Monmouth Head Coach Kevin Callahan
-Kennesaw State's first drive used 6:15 off the clock, as the Owls went 72 yards in 11 plays to take a 7-0 lead. Six different players rushed the ball, including 23 yards and a touchdown from Darnell Holland.
-Monmouth answered on the next drive with a 12-play, 65-yard march ending in a Guerriero 5-yard touchdown. The Hawks converted two fourth downs on the drive, including a 29-yard rush from Bahar on fourth-and-4 and a seven yard pass to Grasso on fourth-and-3.
-A 22-yard rushing touchdown from Holland was called back for holding, and the Owls ended up turning the ball over on downs at the end of the first quarter.
-In the second quarter Monmouth Juwon Farri took over with a six-yard rush, a 20-yard rush, and a nine-yard touchdown run. The Hawks took a 14-7 advantage after the nine-play, 72-yard scoring drive.
-After the teams traded punts, the Owls went 61 yards in 11 plays to tie the game at 14. Burks scored his 24th rushing touchdown of the season.
-The Hawks went three-and-out on the next drive, and Kennesaw got the ball on their own 32 after the punt. Burks passed for 36 yards to help the Owls get down to Monmouth's 23, and Justin Thompson made a 40-yard field goal with time expiring. At the end of the first half, Kennesaw State led 17-14.
-After the Kennesaw State defense forced a three-and-out to open the second half, the Owls rushed 10 times for 66 yards and another Burks touchdown. They led 24-14 with 8:01 left in the third.
-Another Monmouth three-and-out gave the Owls the ball back at their own 44. On a third-and-25, Burks tossed a 23-yard pass and then rushed for a first down on fourth-and-2. A play later, Holland rushed to the left side for a 46-yard score. Kennesaw led 31-14.
-The Hawks were stopped on a fourth-and-2 from their own 37, and Kennesaw State capitalized with another Burks touchdown to open the final quarter. With 13:03 left in the game, the Owls led 38-14.
-Another Holland touchdown, this time from 59 yards out, extended Kennesaw State's lead to 45-14. The Owls made it 51-14 with a late 28-yard touchdown scamper.
-In the third quarter, Kennesaw outgained Monmouth 132-10 and went 4-for-5 on third and fourth down plays. The Owls outscored Monmouth 34-0 in the second half.
-Senior Vinny Grasso now has 260 punt return yards this season, which breaks a school record Adam San Miguel (2006) and Kevin Faulkner (2002) previously held the record of 257.
-Junior Tymere Berry, senior Diego Zubieta, and junior Kahari Scarlett each totaled eight tackles.
-Guerriero has 16 rushing touchdowns in 19 career games.
-Farri scored his seventh touchdown in his 10th career game.
-White Jr. is 18 yards away from setting the Big South all-time receiving yards record. He already holds the Big South and Monmouth receptions record (239), as well as the Monmouth yards record (3,153).
-Mosquera has made his last 37 extra points, including 33-33 this year.
-The Hawks scored 235 points in six games at home this year (39.2 average).
UP NEXT The Hawks will travel to Gardner-Webb next Saturday at 1:30. The Hawks hold a 3-1 all-time series lead, including last year's 41-14 win in West Long Branch.