Owls making it difficult for opposing kickers

·3 min read

Oct. 27—KENNESAW — Kennesaw State's special teams may still be looking for a big punt or kickoff return to help jump-start the offense, but the kick block units have done more than their fair share to this point in the season.

In the Owls' 30-7 win at Campbell on Saturday, Desmond Scott broke through the line of scrimmage to block a potential field goal. The ball was picked up by Je'Cory Burks, who returned it 89 yards for a touchdown.

Instead of the Camels pulling within 17-10, the score was 24-7 in the Owls' favor.

The blocked field goal was the second of the season by Scott, and both set up touchdowns.

The previous one came in the first quarter of Kennesaw State's win over Jacksonville State on Oct. 2. The Owls had taken 7-0 lead, and the Gamecocks were trying to trim it to four points. Welton Spottsville picked up the ball and returned it to midfield to set up another Kennesaw State scoring drive.

Instead of 7-3, it became 14-0, en route to the final 31-6 margin.

"It'll change games now," Bohannon said. "You look at the ebb-and-flow of that game Saturday.

"When it comes to field goals, we have a plan and we work on stuff, but (the interior line), they've just said, 'We're going to go do this.'"

Defensive line coach Liam Klein runs the field goal and extra point block group and appears to have found a successful formula.

While the unit has not blocked every kick, it has been effective this season. In addition to the two blocks, the field goal rush unit has allowed opposing kickers to convert on only three of nine attempts this season, including two missed chances from less than 30 yards and three misses in four attempts from 30 to 39 yards.

"Those guys have just been motivated because all that's happened from inside," Bohannon said. "They've been motivated to go do it and they've had some success, and sometimes, when that happens, it kind of feeds on itself, and I think that's what's happened with those guys."

Not to be outdone, the punt unit has also found success this year, as Garland Benyard got his hand on a punt against North Carolina A&T. It has the only punt block of the season, but there have been other close calls.

For that, Bohannon said the team works with the punt block team each week.

"Every Monday, there is a routine, and we just work on taking the ball off the foot," he said.

Bulldogs running back home

Three former Cobb County standouts could be playing in front of friends and family Saturday when Kennesaw State hosts Gardner-Webb.

Starting defensive back A.J. Thomas and offensive lineman Carter Francis played their high school football at Allatoona, while defensive tackle Kendall Bailey played at Kell.

Heading into Gardner-Webb's game against Monmouth at the beginning of the month, Francis was holding down the job as the starting center. He was injured on the first play of the game and has not played since. It is unknown whether he will be available Saturday.

Bailey, who, like Francis, is a graduate student, honored Francis by wearing his No. 66 instead of his usual No. 95 during the Running Bulldogs' games against Campbell and Robert Morris.

On the air

Saturday's game, set for a 1 p.m. kickoff, can be seen on ESPN+ and heard on the KSU Owls app.

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