KENNESAW — During the 2018 season, injuries kept Bronson Rechsteiner on the sideline more than on the field.
He ran for 142 yards and did not find the end zone. It was not what the former Etowah High School standout had envisioned for his junior season.
To help ease some of that, he dropped 10 pounds to 225 to get into a more athletic weight, and it has paid off. Rechsteiner ran for 137 yards with touchdown runs of 49 and 56 yards in Kennesaw State’s 45-23 win over Charleston Southern on Saturday.
During the game, Rechsteiner went over 1,000 yards rushing for his career, and for the year, he now has 486 yards and five touchdowns — four of which have been 35 yards or longer.
“I’m healthy,” he said. “Last year was full of injuries and ups and downs.”
It was just three weeks ago he set a team record with 221 yards rushing, including an 85-yard touchdown run, against Missouri State. Since then, he has been made the starter at B-Back, and he has been making a difference in the way teams have to prepare for the KSU offense.
“I think you see it. He’s taken the positive things that happen in practice, that directly are correlated to the game, and he says, ‘I like this,’” Owls coach Brian Bohannon said. “He’s a threat. He’s a game changer now. We haven’t had one like him since we’ve been here. He can get the ball like our slots normally, he gets the ball and gets a crease, he can go at any time.”
The Owls turned to Rechsteiner in a couple of key moments against the Buccaneers. Leading 7-0, and facing fourth-and-6 from the Charleston Southern 36, the call from the sideline wasn’t a pitch or handoff to a slot back or a pass to try to pick up the first down. It was an inside handoff to Rechsteiner, who bounced off three defenders and ran for 11 yards to pick up the first down. It is a scenario linebacker Bryson Armstrong has seen many times while trying to tackle Rechsteiner in practice.
“You definitely have to go low or you aren’t going to be successful. It’s definitely not fun, if I were to describe it,” Armstrong said. “He’s fast, he’ll run you over, he has it all.”
Rechsteiner got up from the fourth-down run, pumped his fists, screamed and got the team going. It was a huge momentum play at the time. In the second quarter, he showed the Buccaneers how fast he really is.
With 14:17 to play before the half, he took a handoff straight up the middle 49 yards for a touchdown. Much like the Missouri State game, he used his 4.5 40 speed and pulled away from any defenders who thought they had a chance to track him down.
With less than 30 seconds left in the half, and in an obvious passing situation on third-and-12, the Owls crossed the Buccaneers again and handed the ball to Rechsteiner. He broke three tackles and was gone to make the score 28-3 at the half.
Rechsteiner took none of the credit.
“The guys up front are doing a great job and getting great pushes,” he said.
Bohannon looks at it a little differently. After the game, to make sure Rechsteiner stayed grounded, Bohannon said he told him he would have to get on him for some things on Monday. He also told him how proud he was that he is earning his success.
“He’s continuing to embrace practice,” Bohannon said. “He’s challenging himself, and he’s reaping the reward on Saturday.”