When Kennesaw State gets back on the field, it will do so without starting quarterback Tommy Bryant.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound senior was injured in last Saturday’s game against Dixie State and will miss the rest of the season.
With 6:30 to play in the fourth quarter, Bryant took the snap and ran around the right side for a 4-yard gain, but he appeared to injure his right leg or ankle in the process. Bryant was helped off the field by trainers, unable to put any weight on his foot, and was later carted to the locker room.
Kennesaw State coach Brian Bohannon said after the game that the injury did not look good as Bryant, who ran for 97 yards and two touchdowns in the game, came off the field.
On Tuesday, Bohannon said Bryant would not play again this spring.
That will likely turn the offense over to backup Jonathan Murphy. Murphy was injured against Charleston Southern, in a game in which he came off the bench for an ill Bryant and accounted for 221 yards of total offense and three touchdowns.
Murphy did not play last week against Dixie State, but Bohannon said he hoped to get the sophomore back soon.
If Murphy does become the starter, he will not have to worry about getting ready to play Gardner-Webb on Saturday. That is because the Big South Conference made the announcement Monday that the game had been postponed because of continued COVID-19 issues within the Runnin’ Bulldogs program.
The conference said it was trying to work with both teams to get the game rescheduled, but that could be an issue going forward. With the FCS playoffs set to begin the week of April 19, there currently are no open dates where the teams could reschedule.
“I don’t know. We didn’t find out until (Monday) afternoon that the game was off,” Bohannon said. “Right now, there’s no place to put it, and we’ve had no other communication (with the conference).”
Kennesaw State currently has games scheduled April 3 against Robert Morris, and then Monmouth on April 10. It has a bye on April 17, but Gardner-Webb is set to face Charleston Southern in a rescheduled game that week.
This is the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ second straight game they have had to postpone. They are scheduled to play Monmouth on April 3 and have an off week April 10.
Because of Kennesaw State’s situation at quarterback, the postponement of the Gadner-Webbb game could end up being a positive.
“It could help,” Bohannon said. “It will give Murph a little more time to get healthy.”
Third-string quarterback Xavier Shepherd came in last week’s game after Bryant was injured. If Murphy still is not ready for the Owls’ next game against Robert Morris, Shepherd would likely start and be backed up by a trio of freshmen — Arendez Fedd, Ladarius Clardy and DeAngelo Hardy.
After the win over Dixie State, Kennesaw State moved up one spot in the STATS Perform FCS Top 25 poll to No. 8.
James Madison continued to be No. 1, followed by North Dakota State, Weber State, South Dakota State and Sam Houston State.
Other programs of note included No. 7 Jacksonville State, No. 9 Chattanooga and No. 20 Furman. Gardner-Webb and Monmouth were among those receiving votes.
For the second straight week, the Owls swept the Big South Conference honors.
Linebacker Bryson Armstrong earned his second straight Defensive Player of the Week selection with 11 tackles, including seven solo. Nathan Robertson was the Special Teams Player of the Week, connecting on three field goals and all four extra points for 13 total points, and Cade Loden was named Freshman of the Week after picking up a loose ball on a botched Dixie State punt snap and returning it 15 yards for a touchdown.
Bryant was named the Offensive Player of the Week for his two-touchdown performance.