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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Kennesaw State
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  Quarterback Xavier Shepherd had four touchdown runs and threw for another score as Kennesaw State won its 10th straight game with an 48-21 victory over Davidson on Saturday in the first round of the Football Championship Series playoffs. The Owls (10-1) will face No. 7 East Tennessee State in the second round. Shepherd, who entered with a nation-leading 19 touchdowns rushing, carried the ball 13 times for 15 yards with all four touchdown runs coming from inside the 6. His 56-yard TD pass to Xavier Hill stretched the Owls' lead to 41-14.

Iaan Cousin had a 10-yard touchdown run and Gabriel Benyard scored on a 63-yard punt return for the Owls. Dylan Sparks broke loose for a 54-yard touchdown run and finished with 107 yards rushing for Davidson (8-3). Coy Williams had 90 yards on the ground that included a 61-yard TD run. Jalen Jefferson scored on a 45-yard fumble recovery early in the fourth quarter. It was Kennesaw State coach Brian Bohannon's 63rd career win, tying him with David Bennett (Coastal Carolina, 2003-2011) for the most in Big South Conference history. - Kennesaw State/AP College Football


(DS#34 QB) rSo/2024 QB Xavier ShepherdKennesaw State
News Source: Kennesaw State/AP College Football
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  2021 BIG SOUTH OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR (COACHES): Xavier Shepherd, QB, Soph., Kennesaw State,...Shepherd was a four-time Big South Offensive Player of the Week honoree during the season, and is a finalist for the Stats Perform FCS Walter Payton Offensive Player of the Year Award. He ranks first in all of FCS with 19 rushing touchdowns, is third with 10.4 points per game and ranks eighth with 198 points responsible for. He finished the regular-season second in the conference with 836 rushing yards, and was 69-of-113 passing for 1,181 yards and a school-record 14 touchdown passes. Shepherd had a league-high six multi-touchdown games - including four games with at least three scores, he became just the third quarterback in Big South history with at least 10 passing TDs and 10 rushing scores in the same season, and was the third QB in the conference record book to throw four touchdown passes in back-to-back contests.

Shepherd had three 100-yard rushing games in 2021, highlighted by a career-best 179 in Week 6 at Hampton - a league record for a quarterback in a conference game. He led the Owls to two game-winning drives this season in which the team scored with less than a minute to win the game. Shepherd also had single-game career-highs of 209 passing yards (vs. Gardner-Webb), longest rush of 56 yards (at Wofford) and longest pass completion of 52 yards (at Campbell). He averaged 17.12 yards per completion, had a 184.4 passing efficiency rating and averaged 183.4 total offensive yards per game. - Big South Football


(DS#34 QB) rSo/2024 QB Xavier ShepherdKennesaw State
News Source: Big South Football
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  2021 BIG SOUTH SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR (COACHES): Nathan Robertson, K, Sr., Kennesaw State,...Robertson finished the regular-season as the conference leader with 72 points kicking on 9-of-12 field goals and 45-of-45 PATs. He tied for the Big South lead with five field goals made from 40-yards or longer - which included a 45-yarder (vs. Jacksonville State), two 46-yarders (at Georgia Tech, at Campbell) and a school-record 48-yard kick at Robert Morris. The Big South Special Teams Player of the Week following Kennesaw State's win over Wofford, Robertson was the lone Big South kicker with than 40 made PAT kicks, and he converted at least four PATs eight times in 2021 - including a 6-6 day at RMU and 7-7 in the season-finale against Monmouth. He received 28 points and six first-place votes from the panel, ahead of Monmouth punter Ryan Kost (21 points and three first-place votes) and Hampton kicker/punter Axel Perez (20 points and three first-place votes). - Big South Football

(DS#999 K) Sr/2022 K Nathan RobertsonKennesaw State
News Source: Big South Football
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  2021 BIG SOUTH DEFENSIVE FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR (COACHES): Garland Benyard, DB, Kennesaw State,...Benyard moved into the starting lineup the last five games of the season, and recorded 21 of his 29 tackles in that span for the Big South's top-ranked defense. He had a career-high nine stops vs. Gardner-Webb (five solo), along with a tackle-for-loss. Benyard was the Big South Freshman of the Week on Oct. 18 after he recorded five total stops (three solo) and a pass break-up in Kennesaw State's shutout victory over North Carolina A&T, in which he also blocked a punt.

Against Campbell in Week 8, he notched his first career sack, had five total tackles and a pass break-up. Benyard recorded three stops and a TFL in a win over Robert Morris. He finished the regular-season with 29 tackles (15 solo), 3.0 tackles-for-loss, one sack, two pass break-ups and one quarterback hurry. Benyard earned 37 points and seven first-place votes in the balloting, ahead of Campbell linebacker CJ Tillman (21 points and four first-place votes) and North Carolina A&T defensive lineman Henry Daniels (17 points and one first-place vote). - Big South Football


(DS#999 SS) Fr/2025 SS Garland BenyardKennesaw State
News Source: Big South Football
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  Xavier Shepherd rushed for 118 yards, scoring a season-high four touchdowns and Kennesaw State opened the Big South title showdown with three unanswered rushing TDs to roll past Monmouth 49-17 on Saturday. The Owls (10-1, 7-0), ranked fifth in the FCS coaches poll, won their third Big South championship in the past five seasons, with the first 7-0 finish in the Big South. Kennesaw State earned the conference's automatic bid to the FCS playoffs, ending on a ninth straight win.

Monmouth (7-4, 6-1), ranked No. 24, now awaits an at-large bid. The Hawks, who'd won the three previous conference titles, came in allowing 103.7 yards per game rushing. Kennesaw State piled up 471 yards on the ground and another 100 through the air. Tony Muskett completed 28 of 43 passes for 337 yards and a touchdown for Monmouth, but the Hawks gained just 30 on the ground, punted four times, turned the ball over on downs three times and picked up 337 yards of offense. Shepherd scored from the 9 on the game-opening drive, adding touchdowns of 4, 1 and 1 yards. Adeolu Adelke scored on a 61-yard burst, and Iaan Cousin gained 114 yards on three carries with a 38-yard TD. - AP College Football


(DS#34 QB) rSo/2024 QB Xavier ShepherdKennesaw State
News Source: AP College Football
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  Xavier Shepherd scored on a 2-yard run as Kennesaw State drove 70 yards in eight plays for the game-winning touchdown with less than a minute remaining to defeat North Alabama 28-24 on Saturday. Kennesaw State (9-1, 6-0 Big South Conference), fifth-ranked in the FCS coaches poll, had fallen behind 24-21 with 3:39 left in the game after North Alabama's Sam Contorno kicked a 29-yard field goal. North Alabama (2-8, 1-4) led 14-0 early in the second quarter in a game that saw two ties and three lead changes. Shepherd gave the Owls their first lead, 21-14, with a 3-yard run late in the third quarter. The Lions fought back with a Blake Dever 30-yard TD pass to Takairee Kenebrew, followed by Contorno's field goal to go up 24-21. On the game-winning drive, Shepherd completed all three passes and kept the ball three times for short gains. Dever threw for 249 yards and three touchdowns against one interception, Cortez Hall made five catches for 96 yards and a TD for North Alabama. - AP College Football

(DS#34 QB) rSo/2024 QB Xavier ShepherdKennesaw State
News Source: AP College Football
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  Xavier Shepherd passed for four touchdowns on just eight completions and Kennesaw State beat Robert Morris 45-21 on Saturday. Kennesaw State jumped out to a 14-0 lead after Robert Morris fumbled on its first two possessions - both recovered by Kennesaw State lineman Tyler Moore. Shepherd tied KSU's single-season passing touchdown record at 13 with a 42-yard connection with Adeolu Adeleke to make it 42-14 late in the third quarter. Shepherd was 8-of-12 passing for 185 yards and carried it 14 times for 44 yards for Kennesaw State (8-1, 5-0 Big South), which is ranked No. 8 in the FCS Coaches' Poll. Caleb O'Neal had 119 yards receiving and two scores, and freshman Gabriel Benyard rushed for a 49-yard touchdown. Nathan Robertson set a program record for the longest field goal, making a 48-yarder to extend Kennesaw State's lead to 45-14. George Martin led Robert Morris (3-5, 2-3) with 293 yards passing and two touchdowns. Alijah Jackson had 91 yards rushing and a TD. - AP College Football

(DS#34 QB) rSo/2024 QB Xavier ShepherdKennesaw State
News Source: AP College Football
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  10/30/21 - Xavier HillSo/2024, Kennesaw State, 6-1, 200 (DS#999 WR) + More +

  Xavier Hill came down with a game-winning 15-yard touchdown catch with a defender draped over him with 11 seconds left and No. 10 FCS Kennesaw State beat Gardner-Webb 34-30 on Saturday. Trailing 27-17 late in the fourth quarter, Bailey Fisher drove the Bulldogs 75 yards in 14 plays for one score, then marched 76 yards in five plays, hitting Narii Gaither from 33-yards out to take a 27-24 lead with 43 seconds left. Nykeem Farrow returned the Gardner-Webb kickoff 25 yards to give the Owls a first-down at their own 40. Xavier Shepherd threw 24 yards to Iaan Cousin, then 21 yards to Caleb O'Neal for the game winner and his fourth touchdown pass. Shepherd, who was 12 of 14 for 209 yards, threw a 30-yard score to Gabriel Benyard and a 51 yarder to O'Neal to put the Owls in front, 24-17 late in the third quarter. Fisher was 31 of 48 for 324 yards with a touchdown and did not throw an interception for the Bulldogs. Gaither ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns and caught 10 passes for 91 yards and a score. Kennesaw State (7-1, 4-0 Big South) remains undefeated against the Bulldogs (3-5, 1-3) in six meetings. The win was the Owls first since 2015 without a rushing touchdown. - AP College Football

(DS#999 WR) So/2024 WR Xavier HillKennesaw State
News Source: AP College Football
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  Xavier Shepherd accounted for three touchdowns and Kennesaw State kept the Campbell offense out of the end zone in a 30-7 victory on Saturday. Je'Cory Burks returned a blocked field goal attempt 89 yards into the end zone that stretched the Owls' lead to 24-7 with about six minutes remaining. It was the fifth straight win for Kennesaw State (6-1, 3-0 Big South Conference), ranked 11th in the FCS Coaches Poll. Shepherd tossed a 52-yard touchdown pass to Nykeem Farrow late in the third quarter and a 4-yarder to Gabriel Benyard on the last play of the game. Shepherd also had a 3-yard TD run in the second quarter. He finished with 112 yards passing and 52 yards on the ground. Levi Wiggins returned a fumbled ball 94 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter for Campbell (3-4, 2-2), which was held to 188 yards of offense. - AP College Football

(DS#34 QB) rSo/2024 QB Xavier ShepherdKennesaw State
News Source: AP College Football
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  Xavier Shepherd had two touchdowns runs and Kennesaw State beat North Carolina A&T 14-0 on Saturday night. Shepherd ran into the end zone from the 3 to cap a 10-play, 80-yard drive midway through the second quarter. He added a 1-yard TD run with about three minutes left in the third. Shepherd finished with 66 yards rushing for Kennesaw State (5-1, 2-0 Big South Conference), which had 222 yards on the ground and held North Carolina A&T (3-3, 2-1) to just 31 yards rushing. In the first half, the Owls had two positive drives stall with fumbles, and Andrew Brown missed two field goals for North Carolina A&T (3-3, 2-1 Big South Conference). The Aggies drove to the Kennesaw State 14 but couldn't convert on fourth-and-1 with 6:16 remaining before the Owls ran out the clock. Jalen Fowler was 14-of-35 passing for 176 yards for the Aggies. - AP College Football

(DS#34 QB) rSo/2024 QB Xavier ShepherdKennesaw State
News Source: AP College Football
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  Xavie Shepherd ran for 199 yards and three touchdowns, adding 109 passing yards, and Kennesaw State rolled to a 34-15 victory over Hampton in a Big South Conference opener on Saturday. Nath Robertson's 35-yard field goal was the only scoring in the first quarter and it gave the Owls (4-1, 1-0) the lead for good. Shepherd's 3-yard TD run just 1:13 into the second quarter made it 10-0. Iaan Cousin's 36-yard scoring run made it 17-0 before Jett Duffey got the Pirates (2-3, 0-1) on the scoreboard with a 41-yard TD toss to Hezekiah Grimsley with 1:11 left before halftime. Shepherd added a 5-yard TD in the third quarter and a 3-yarder early in the fourth. Kennesaw State rushed for 339 yards and Shepherd had half of their 58 carries. Shepherd completed 8 of 11 passes. The Owls finished with a 448-276 advantage in yards gained. Duffey completed 11 of 16 passes for 128 yards. Backup QB Christofer Zellous had a 14-yard TD pass to Jarrett Powell late in the fourth quarter. - AP College Football

(DS#34 QB) rSo/2024 QB Xavier ShepherdKennesaw State
News Source: AP College Football
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  Quarterback Xavier Shepherd rushed for 124 yards and three touchdowns to lead Kennesaw State to a 31-6 win over Jacksonville State in a battle of Top 20 FCS teams on Saturday. The 20th-ranked Owls (3-1) held the ball almost 15 minutes longer than the 17th-ranked Gamecocks (2-3), who fell behind 24-0 early in the third quarter. Kennesaw State had a pair of rushing touchdowns in the first quarter as the two drives combined for 20 plays, 125 yards and more than 11 minutes. It was 17-0 at halftime when an interception set up the Owls for a short field with Shepherd's second touchdown making it 24-0. After the Gamecocks got on the board with a touchdown pass from Zerrick Cooper to PJ Wells, Shepherd got his third TD, capping a 15-play, 75-yard drive that chewed up almost nine minutes. Kennesaw had 271 of its 343 yards on the ground. Their last matchup in 2018 was the FCS Game of the Year when Kennesaw State won 60-52 in five overtimes, the longest game in history for both teams and the most points either team ever allowed. - AP College Football

(DS#34 QB) rSo/2024 QB Xavier ShepherdKennesaw State
News Source: AP College Football
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  Xavier Shepherd threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran 56 yards for a fourth-quarter score as Kennesaw State breezed to a 31-10 road victory over Wofford in nonconference play on Saturday. Nathan Robertson staked the Owls (2-1) to a 3-0 lead with a 24-yard field goal at the 5:11 mark of the second quarter. Shepherd hooked up with Caleb O'Neal for a 14-yard score with 51 seconds left before halftime for a 10-0 advantage.

Kyle Glover's 29-yard TD run pushed the Owls' lead to 17-0 in the third quarter before Walker Gliarmis got the Terriers (1-1) on the scoreboard with a 48-yard field goal at the 6:55 mark of the quarter. Kennesaw State made it 24-3 when Shepherd fired a 67-yard scoring strike to Iaan Cousin on third-and-20 just 41 seconds into the final period. Shepherd put the finishing touch on the victory with a 56-yard TD run with 6:42 left to play. Shepherd completed 5 of 6 passes for 95 yards. Glover had 95 yards on 18 carries. Irvin Mulligan capped the scoring for Wofford with a 1-yard TD run with 10:26 remaining in the game. - AP College Football


(DS#34 QB) rSo/2024 QB Xavier ShepherdKennesaw State
News Source: AP College Football
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  Jonathan Murphy ran for 98 yards and two touchdowns and Kennesaw State beat feisty NAIA-member Reinhardt 35-25 on Thursday night in the season opener for both teams. The Owls, entering the season ranked No. 19 in FCS, ran 67 times for 332 rushing yards and five touchdowns. Xavier Shepherd and Jonathan Murphy scored two touchdowns apiece. Nykeem Farrow ran it in from 20 yards out for a 7-0 Kennesaw State lead. Reinhardt answered when Billy Hall found Navarie Solomon for a 26-yard scoring play. The Owls seized control with two 12-play drives - 74 and 65 yards - that ended with Murphy plowing in from 2 yards and a yard, respectively, for a 21-7 advantage. Hall passed for 90 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 128 yards and two more scores. - AP College Football

(DS#999 QB) Jr/2023 QB Jonathan MurphyKennesaw State
News Source: AP College Football
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  MARCH 15 BIG SOUTH OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Kennesaw State sophomore Jonathan Murphy totaled 221 yards of offense and was responsible for three touchdowns in leading the Owls to a 24-19 victory over Charleston Southern in the Big South opener for both squads. He came off the bench midway through the second quarter and rushed for 113 yards and a score, in addition to 108 yards on 4-of-5 passing attempts with two scoring strikes. Murphy's 23-yard TD pass in the second quarter tied the game at 7-7, while his 7-yard scoring run pushed KSU's lead to 17-7. He later threw a 51-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter to give the Owls a 24-7 advantage. - Big South Football

(DS#999 QB) Jr/2023 QB Jonathan MurphyKennesaw State
News Source: Big South Football
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