SunTrust Park to host KSU Owls football game

KSU QB ready to help Owls soar

CUMBERLAND, Ga. -- SunTrust Park will swap out its foul poles for goal posts, at least for one game.

The  Atlanta Braves and Kennesaw State Owls announced on Friday that the Owls will play a football game against Jacksonville State at the new ballpark in 2018.

After discussions had been going on internally between Mike Plant, the Braves president of development, and Kennesaw State Athletic Director Vaughn Williams for two years, the two sides finally came to an agreement.

The Owls and Gamecocks will play Nov. 17, 2018. It will be the first football game played at SunTrust Park. Plant also said they are planning to have festivities in the week leading up to the game at The Battery Atlanta.

"We had a discussion about it internally for about five seconds, and we said, ‘You know what, that is perfect. That is exactly in the wheel house in what we’re looking for to use this great facility,' ” Plant said.

Williams said the Braves opened the door to KSU's vision that they presented the Braves about two years ago while the stadium was still under construction.

"To have a football game in here is going to be something special," Williams said. "Who would have thought a year from now, we'd be playing hopefully in front of 25,000-- not hopefully-- but playing in front of 25,000 fans. We didn't have football 10 years ago." 

The Braves moved from Atlanta to Cobb County this season, and they are located just 15 miles from Fifth Third Bank Stadium, the home of the Owls.

The Braves revealed a rendering of how the field will fit inside the baseball field. One end zone will back up to the 335-foot left field corner while the other will reach the Braves' dugout at the first base side. 

Plant said no modifications will be necessarily other than removing the pitcher's mound and home plate. Since the MLB season and postseason will be over, that won't be an issue. Other than that, a football field will fit nicely inside the park.

"Creating a new legacy for Cobb County and this team, and one of the ways to do that is to go beyond just baseball," Plant said. 

In addition to the Braves' home games, SunTrust Park has also hosted a Billy Joel concert, with more concerts scheduled in the future. Plant said that he hopes a football game at SunTrust Park can become an annual event.

The Owls are entering their third season this year under head coach Brian Bohannon. They have won 14 games in the program's first two seasons. Jacksonville State is consistently one of the top teams in the FCS.

"Anytime that you want to do something special, you need a special opponent," Williams said. "They are the elite of the FCS at this time, and they will be for along time to come. And this is going to be a great, great battle."

KSU season ticket holders will have first choice for seating locations and tickets for the 2018 game at SunTrust park. 

© 2017 WXIA-TV


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