Game Time: Saturday, December 9, 2017, 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: Bowers Stadium, Huntsville, Texas
Where To Watch: ESPN3
Betting Odds: Kennesaw State -1.5, O/U 65
Odds via sportsbooks monitored by GamblersPalace.com
The Kennesaw State Owls’ bandwagon is getting pretty full. Beloved mascot Plank has attracted a niche online following and oddsmakers are on board too. The Owls are actually a favorite over the Sam Houston State Bearkats this week despite the game taking place in Huntsville, Texas. The winner of this game will face the winner of North Dakota State and Wofford next week.
Reasons to Like Kennesaw State
The Owls have the best rushing offense in the FCS. Kennesaw State is the only team at this level of football to average more than 300 yards on the ground per game and have relied on that ground game to keep up its winning ways.
Kennesaw State runs a modified triple option that has been extremely successful. The Owls are averaging 5.7 yards per carry and have been able to control time of possession with their attack too.
Additionally, no team has turned opponents over more than Kennesaw State this season. The Owls have forced 34 turnovers this season and that means we’ve seen plenty of Plank.
Reasons Not to Like Kennesaw State
If the Owls fall behind it’s going to be hard for them to come back. QB Chandler Burks is more than competent as an option quarterback, but making him into a pure passer is another story. Burns is completing less than 50 percent of his passes and Kennesaw State isn’t equipped to win a shootout.
Reasons to Like Sam Houston State
The Bearkats have the nation’s leading passer in Jeremiah Briscoe and he has had a solid year after winning the Walter Payton Award as the nation’s best player at this level in 2016. Briscoe has thrown for almost 4,400 yards this year and has 41 touchdowns against just 12 interceptions.
He was fantastic against South Dakota last week, throwing for over 500 yards in the win. Briscoe doesn’t have the highest completion percentage, but that’s because he takes a lot of shots downfield. If the Bearkats are going to win, he’s going to play a big part in the victory.
For the first time in quite some time, the Bearkats have a good ground game. They are averaging over five yards per carry and have been able to establish the run against most defenses this year.
Reasons Not to Like Sam Houston State
Defense is not something that the Bearkats do well. Sam Houston State gave up a ton of yards to South Dakota last week and has been susceptible on the ground too. The Bearkats rank 75th in the nation in rush defense and struggled to stop Southeastern Louisiana’s triple option earlier in the year.
The Owls are a great story, but this is where it comes to an end. Sam Houston State’s quick strike offense is going to be too much.
Final Score: Sam Houston State 38, Kennesaw State 31