KENNESAW — As Kennesaw State heads to Wofford on Saturday in the first round of the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs, it could be a matchup in which the smallest detail could make the difference.
The teams are statistical mirrors of each other, and considering both run variations of the triple-option, it is easy to see why.
Kennesaw State (350 yards per game) and Wofford (323.5) are the top two rushing teams in the FCS. In terms of passing, they are 123rd and 121st, respectively.
The Kennesaw State defense (277.8) is fifth in the FCS, while Wofford (334.0) is 21st, and time of possession has the Owls (31:23) 25th and the Terriers (34:18) fourth.
When Kennesaw State beat Wofford in the second round of the 2018 FCS playoffs, the game showed how equal the teams were. The Owls won 13-10, with Anthony Gore Jr. sacking Terriers quarterback Joe Newman to forced a fumble and lead to the go-ahead field goal.
“You have to make some plays in some moments,” Kennesaw State coach Brian Bohannon said Wednesday during his weekly news conference. “That’s what championship football is. You have to make some plays in some moments.”
As for making sure the Owls are ready to make those plays when they present themselves, Bohannon said the message was made clear.
“When you get to the playoffs, it’s your attention to detail and focus,” he said. “I told the guys you have to go to practice this week and every rep you take, whether it’s individual, a group period or team period, that’s got to be the play that changes the game. That’s got to be a championship rep. We talked about it several weeks ago, when we got beat (by Monmouth), that you can’t cheat preparation, and you have to do it in practice, so it’s second nature in the game.
“Regardless of who you are playing, you get to this time of year, a play or two here and there could be the difference in the game.”
Bohannon, however, stressed that players are not asked to do anything different in getting ready for the postseason.
“When you get into the playoffs, you don’t have to do anything different,” he said. “You win games the same way you win in the regular season. It’s not like, ‘I’m going to go do this.’ Just go do your job with championship effort, attitude and toughness. That’s what you do, and you are detailed about your assignment, and you’re detailed about your job description. That’s what you do and you do it for four quarters.”
Big South Conference runner-up Kennesaw State (10-2) and Southern Conference champion Wofford (8-3) shared one common opponent in Gardner-Webb. Both teams hosted the Bulldogs and had blowout victories.
The Owls won 42-14 last week, running for 322 yards and allowing just 232 yards of total offense.
The Terriers beat the Bulldogs 49-10 in September, running for 489 yards and allowing 246 yards of total offense.
Bohannon said the schedule for Thanksgiving Day would be pretty straightforward. The team will practice in the morning and then the players will be free to head home to spend the rest of the day with their families.
If a player is not local, arrangements have been made for them to spend the holiday with a teammate or with a coach.
Players will then report back to campus by 10:30 a.m. Friday for the trip to Spartanburg, South Carolina.