KENNESAW, Ga. — Chandler Burks ran for a career-high four touchdowns and threw for another and Kennesaw State distanced itself from Monmouth 52-21 on Saturday and won its first Big South Conference title and secured an automatic berth to the NCAA Division I FCS playoffs.
Burks ran 20 times for 131 yards and the Owls’ defense tied a school record by forcing five turnovers. Kennesaw State (10-1, 5-0) now owns a school record 10-game winning streak. Kennesaw State became just the second team since 2008 to reach the FCS playoffs in its third year, joining Old Dominion, which did it in 2011.
Monmouth (9-2, 4-1) grabbed its lone lead when Shawn Clark recovered a fumble in the end zone ending an 11-play, 61-yard possession on the game’s first drive. The Owls tied it immediately when Shaquil Terry ran 45 yards to score on their third offensive play. Burks ran it in from 2 yards out with 3:23 left in the first for a 14-7 lead.
Early in the second, Pete Guerriero pulled Momouth even with a 28-yard run. But Kennesaw took a two-touchdown lead on 10- and 1-yard runs by TJ Reed and Burks, respectively. Guerriero responded with a 19-yard run to get the Hawks within seven, but just before halftime, Chandler led a 7-play, 75-yard drive that ended when he threw a 36-yard scoring strike to Justin Sumpter.
Guerriero ran 19 times for 141 yards for Monmouth, which will wait to see if it can secure an at-large bid to the FCS playoffs.