OU football team looking forward to challenging No. 6 Kansas Wesleyan

Greg Mast
The Ottawa Herald

Ottawa University football team is not going to roll over for sixth-ranked Kansas Wesleyan.

The Braves (4-4, 3-4) are coming off three straight wins and are playing their best football of the season.

The Ottawa University secondary will have its hands full against an explosive Kansas Wesleyan team. The Coyotes average 500 yards per game.

Ottawa coach Kent Kessinger looks at this matchup as an opportunity and a challenge against one of the top teams in the nation.

“We know we are playing a really good football team,” Kessinger said. “There is a reason why they are No. 6 in the nation. They have a strong offense and defense. They are very solid. It is going to take a real good effort on our part. I like the challenge. I am hoping that is the way our players look at too. This is a great opportunity.”

Kessinger said Ottawa let a good opportunity pass by in last year’s loss to the Coyotes. Ottawa dropped a touchdown pass and had other plays go against them that led to the loss.

“It could have been different, particularly in the first half,” Kessinger said. “We could have a 21-7 lead at halftime. That gives us good confidence going into this game knowing you have to take advantage of every opportunity you get against really good teams.

“The older guys have been looking forward to this game from last year. They want to redeem themselves.”

Kansas Wesleyan (8-0, 8-0) is one of eight undefeated teams ranked in the top 25. The Coyotes have won 13 straight games.

Kessinger, who is rater for the NAIA, said upsets have been the norm this season among the top teams.

“The KCAC has not had that yet,” he said. “Maybe we are due. It would be great to go toe-to-toe with a really great football team.

We will face a challenge and prepare for it. We are going to do the work to deserve victory. It is two phases — you have to put the work and be able to execute.”

Ottawa saw its passing game blossom against Friends. The Braves threw for nearly 300 yards to take pressure off the rushing attack.

“It was really nice to be able to get that phase of our offense going,” Kessinger said. “I like to throw the football a little bit. We got uncorked a little bit.”

Ottawa’s rushing attack has been diverse all season.

“We try to play the strengths of our backs,” Kessinger said. “We will play quite a few running backs. We are not just a one-trick pony. We can adjust and adapt.”