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Kennesaw State returns to action with nationally televised game at Tennessee Tech

September 6, 2018

KENNESAW – Shortly after Kennesaw State lost its season opener to Georgia State last Thursday, coach Brian Bohannon said the hardest thing the team would have to overcome was the emotional letdown.

A few days after missing an opportunity to win their first game against a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent, Bohannon said the Owls seemed to be focusing back in, but he hoped the loss would not continue to linger.

“Just to get back out on the grass and practice was a positive thing,” Bohannon said.

Kennesaw State (0-1) will have to focus as it travels to Cookeville, Tennessee, tonight to face Tennessee Tech (0-1) for a 7 p.m. kickoff. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU, marking the Owls’ first nationally televised game.

“It’s going to be a big deal for us to go up there and play on national TV in an environment I think is going to be awesome,” Bohannon said.

Tonight’s game will be the return of the home-and-home series.

Tennessee Tech, which finished 1-10 overall and 1-7 in the Ohio Valley Conference last year, played at Fifth Third Bank Stadium in Kennesaw State’s home opener last season. The Owls won 27-14, but they had to intercept two passes in the red zone in the fourth quarter to keep from giving up a 27-0 third-quarter lead.

“It was a game where the score was much closer than it appeared,” Bohannon said. “Last year, when they came in here, they were a tough hard-nosed football team. They are going to be awfully excited to have us at their place.”

Tennesssee Tech is also coming off a loss in its season opener. The Golden Eagles suffered through a 2-hour, 45-minute weather delay -- much like Kennesaw State did last year at Samford -- and a 13-7 deficit at the half quickly ballooned into a 34-10 loss to Chattanooga.

Many of the players from last season’s meeting between Kennesaw State and Tennessee Tech are the same, but some have changed positions, and the offensive and defensive schemes have changed under new Golden Eagles coach Dewayne Alexander.

Tennessee Tech will try to be balanced on offense behind freshman quarterback Bailey Fisher, who was 10-of-26 for 117 yards and two interceptions in his college debut. He also ran for 78 yards, but lost a fumble.

“They still want to run the ball,” Bohannon said. “We have to establish the run in order to be successful.”

The Owls will be expected to return to more of a run-first approach tonight. After averaging 330 rushing yards per game last year, they ran for 181 yards and threw for 201 against Georgia State.

“If we pass more than we run, it’s not going to be a good day,” Bohannon said.

Kennesaw State is hopeful that left guard Nick Eldridge can return after missing last week’s game with an undisclosed injury. If Eldridge cannot go again, freshman Matt Olson, a walk-on from Forsyth Central, will make his second straight start.

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