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Presbyterian flattened in Kevin Kelley's first game vs. FCS competition

Kelley's first game against an FCS opponent saw Presbyterian lose by its biggest margin ever to an FCS opponent.

Kevin Kelley's first two games at the college level went like just about all of his games at Pulaski Academy: his team won, scored an obscene number of points, and dunked convention on its head. Presbyterian opened the season 2-0, scoring 152 points in those wins.

But those victories came at the expense of St. Andrews University and the University of Fort Lauderdale -- on an NAIA school, the other playing in the National Collegiate Christian College Association -- and the true tests would come in FCS competition, beginning with Saturday's game against Campbell.

And one game in, FCS competition treated Kelley like Kelley usually treats everyone else.

Campbell 72, Presbyterian 0.

Kevin Kelley was still Kevin Kelley, even trailing by 70. Presbyterian did not punt, even when facing a 4th-and-22 at its own 2-yard line (!!!) with the score 14-0 in the first quarter. Kelley also attempted, and failed, a 4th-and-11 from his own 35, a 4th-and-18 from Campbell's 45, and a 4th-and-3 from his own 5. Overall, Presbyterian went 2-of-9 on fourth down and bypassed field goal opportunities in the Campbell red zone in favor of fourth down tries; both failed. 

Of course, everything has to go wrong to lose 72-0, and everything did. 

Ren Hefley, the Michigan transfer who threw for 863 yards and 14 touchdowns in Presbyterian's first two games, went 20-of-39 for 164 yards and six interceptions. He also lost two fumbles. Presbyterian left the game minus-10 in takeaways. Campbell entered the game an 8.5-point favorite. 

Campbell's offense scored eight touchdowns on its first nine drives. Those eight drives covered an average of 51.9 yards. Wiley Hartley completed 21-of-29 passes for 337 yards and six touchdowns, and Michael Jamerson led the Camel ground game with 22 carries for 101 yards and two touchdowns. 

The 72-point margin is Campbell's biggest Division I win ever and Presbyterian's worst Division I loss ever. The Blue Hose went 4-3 in the spring of 2021, losing by 17 to conference champion Davidson, by three to San Diego, and in double overtime to Gardner-Webb. 

"My team is better than this, my players are better than this, but their head coach is 100 percent at fault for this," Kelley said afterward. "To the Blue Hose fans, I apologize for what I helped put out on the field. I will do my best to help our coaches fix this and we will get better." 

And, because I know you're curious, Presbyterian only kicked off once, having been blanked on the scoreboard. Opening the second half trailing 49-0, Presbyterian failed to recover its onside kick. Campbell went 53 yards in three plays to push its lead to 56-0.