Samford, Tarleton State and Big South Conference rival Campbell highlight Kennesaw State’s home football schedule for the 2020 season.
The Owls, who went 11-3 in 2019, completing its third straight 11-win season, released their schedule Thursday. It consists of six home games, but only two in Big South play.
For the second straight season, Kennesaw State will open with NAIA-level Point, the Owls’ only non-Division I opponent. In 2019, Kennesaw State’s overall strength of schedule was hurt as it faced two NAIA opponents, beating Point and Reinhardt — the latter game coming after an originally scheduled home game with Duquesne was canceled by the Dukes.
After facing Point on Sept. 5, Kennesaw State will return to Kent State with eyes on its first win over a Football Bowl Subdivision program. The Owls nearly pulled off the upset last season, but the Golden Flashes tied the game late and won it in overtime.
Kent State went on to finish the season 7-6 and beat Utah State in the Frisco Bowl to earn the first bowl win program history. The game with Kennesaw State will come in a grueling four-week stretch for the Golden Flashes that also includes games at Power Five opponents Penn State, Kentucky and Alabama.
After hosting Alabama State on Sept. 19 to complete a four-year contract, Kennesaw State will host Tarleton State, a Football Championship Subdivision newcomer from Texas, on Sept. 26.
The Owls were initially supposed to host Missouri State that day to complete a home-and-home contract with the Bears, but that game was moved to 2025 as part of a three-way agreement that also included Tarleton State.
Tarleton State, which went 23-2 over the its final two seasons in Division II, will host Missouri State in 2020, with the Texans taking the Bears’ place on the Owls schedule for 2020. Tarleton State and Kennesaw State will also play an additional home-and-home series at later dates.
The Texans could present a challenge after finishing the 2019 regular season undefeated before losing to Texas A&M-Commerce in the first round of the Division II playoffs. They averaged 45 points and 531.7 yards per game.
Samford will come to Fifth Third Bank Stadium on Oct. 3, marking the fourth time in four years the Bulldogs and Owls have faced off. Kennesaw State holds a 2-1 advantage in the series, including a win for the Owls’ FCS playoff victory in 2017.
Big South play will bring only two teams to Kennesaw, with the Owls hosting Hampton on Halloween and Campbell on Nov. 14.
Kennesaw State will play three conference games on the road — Gardner-Webb (Oct. 24), Charleston Southern (Nov. 7) and the team’s regular-season finale at Monmouth on Nov. 21. The Owls will be looking for revenge after the Hawks ended Kennesaw State’s 12-game conference winning streak last November, propelling them to the Big South title.
The Owls will also play at Big South member North Alabama on Oct. 10, though the game will not count toward the conference standings as the Lions continue their transition period from Division II to the FCS.