FCS Playoffs: Kennesaw State at Weber State

NCAA Football
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FCS Second-Round Playoff

The Matchup – Kennesaw State (11-2, 5-1 Big South) at No. 3 seed Weber State (9-3, 7-1 Big Sky)

Kickoff – 3 p.m. ET at Stewart Stadium in Ogden, Utah

Coverage – ESPN3

Series – First meeting

Coaches – Kennesaw State: Brian Bohannon (48-14, five seasons); Weber State: Jay Hill (45-29, six seasons)

3 Players to Watch – Kennesaw State: RB Bronson Rechsteiner (870 rushing yards, 7 TDs), DE Desmond Johnson Jr. (39 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 7 sacks), LB Bryson Armstrong (85 tackles, 11½ tackles for loss); Weber State: Jake Constantine (165 of 260, 1,733 yards, 11 TDs), RB Josh Davis (1,015 rushing yards, 10 TDs), DE Jonah Williams (48 tackles, 6½ sacks)

The Skinny – Kennesaw’s fifth-year program has ventured out to Big Sky country once previously, beating Montana State in the 2017 regular season – the first of the Big South power’s three straight seasons with at least 11 wins. The Owls’ depth at quarterback was on display in a 28-21, first-round win at Wofford. Season-opening starter Daniel David was sidelined and Tommy Bryant suffered a leg injury in just his third career start, but little-used Jonathan Murphy came off the bench in the second quarter to direct the triple option offense and rush for 206 yards and three touchdowns. The Owls average an FCS-high 346.8 rushing yards per game, while Weber State is ranked first in the Big Sky against the run, allowing 107.2 yards per game, but allowing only one opponent go above 100 yards in their last seven games. Kennesaw’s defense is led by Armstrong, who has reached double figures in tackles in three of his six career playoff games. Weber’s defense is strong up front, where DT Jared Schless joined Williams on the Big Sky first team and DE Adam Rodriguez made the second team. The Wildcats’ run game is built more on power than deception, and RB Kris Jackson has matched Davis for the team high with 10 rushing TDs. Junior PK Trey Tuttle has kicked 58 career field goals, just 17 below the FCS all-time record with another season to go.

Up Next – The winner will play either Southeastern Louisiana (8-4) or No. 6 seed Montana (9-3) in the quarterfinals Dec. 13 or 14.

Prediction – The Wildcats won’t be happy to defend a triple option, but they’re 6-0 at home this season and have won 15 of their last 16 games at Stewart Stadium. Add in a potential wintry mix and that’s a distinct advantage for the three-time reigning Big Sky champ. Weber State, 26-16.

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