The 2017 FCS Playoffs are here and we've got game-by-game wrap ups.
[divider]COMPARE: Any Two FCS Players | Any Two FCS Teams[divider]
Kennesaw State 17
Jacksonville State 7
Next up: Kennesaw (12-1) at Sam Houston State (11-1)
Time/Date: TBA | TV: ESPN3
COMPARE: Kennesaw at Sam Houston State
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Chandler Burks, QB, Kennesaw State — Now a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard passer, Burks was the catalyst on offense, accounting for 202 yards of offense while rushing for a touchdown. He was instrumental in keeping the ball.
THE TURNING POINT
We'll go with a play midway through the second quarter. With Kennesaw State facing a 3rd and 4 — which in the triple-option offense isn't exactly a gimme — QB Chandler Burks threw a 12-yard competition to T.J. Reed so that the Owls wouldn't have to kick. Four plays later, Darnell Holland also had a big play when he rushed 9 yards for a touchdown on a 4th and 1 play, giving Kennesaw its first lead of the game — 10-7 — with four minutes left in the first half.
Jacksonville State may feel skinny right about now, as the Gamecocks were squeezed like nobody's business. Kennesaw State had the ball for 10 more minutes than the Gamecocks, a time of possession difference that is reminiscent of what North Dakota State did to the Gamecocks in the 2015 season's national title game.
JSU was outgained 339 to 187 in yardage, with 213 of those yards by Kennesaw going in the run game against the No. 2 rushing defense in the country coming in — Jacksonville State. The Owls have proven they are the real deal, having avenged their season-opening loss to Samford and dominated everybody else on the schedule.
PREVIEW OF NEXT WEEK
Next week is going to be fascinating. On one hand you have the triple-option boa constrictor thing going on with Kennesaw State, as we've referred to the triple-o before. On the other hand we have a Sam Houston State team that just hung 50-plus on a solid Missouri Valley opponent in South Dakota. What's going to give here?
When it comes to the playoffs, I tend to go with the defensive ballclub, which clearly would be Kennesaw State in how it plays, but Sam Houston is going to score its share of points here. Shaking my head here, folks … again. Also, which Sam Houston State team will show up? The first half team that hung 40-plus on South Dakota today, or the team that led USD back in the game on a 28-7 run in the second half. That's the thing: We never know.
Sam Houston State 31-28