Chants of “It’s Gameday” rang across the campus Thursday as students celebrated Kennesaw State’s first football game.
Although the Owls couldn’t hear their classmates’ cheers, the team played and won their first game in school history Thursday, a 56-16 road win against East Tennessee State.
Kat Carbone, a freshman from Alpharetta, said although she and students from the Kennesaw and Marietta campuses were excited to watch the Owls’ first game at the Kennesaw campus watch party, they were more excited to celebrate the program’s existence.
“I think the program has been a success,” Carbone said. “Everyone’s so hyped and so excited for it that win or lose, that if our boys just do as good as they can, I think (this season) will be awesome.”
Since football touched the campus, senior Olivia Ferguson said the university changed for the better.
“You see way more students in Owl gear than you would normally,” Ferguson said. “Everyone’s been so excited for it. We’ve been building up to it.”
Ferguson was enrolled at KSU when the football program was announced in 2013. Since then, she said not only has school spirit increased, but also awareness about what the school can offer.
“Students will now see Kennesaw because people pay attention to football,” Ferguson said. “When they see that name ‘Kennesaw State’ they think ‘Oh that’s cool, lets see what they look like.’ Then they see how great our business school is or how great our nursing program is.”
Carbone and freshman Lizzie Murphey credit the football program for drawing them to this year’s freshman class.
“The school’s definitely grown,” Murphey. “I know that the amount of people that have just started going here has skyrocketed since the football program began.”
Ferguson said she’s seen a difference in the types of students enrolling at KSU since the announcement about the football program.
“Even students around here that have known of Kennesaw that were really (wanting) to go to a school with more of a college experience with football (are here),” Ferguson said. “Now they can have that here.”
Coach Brian Bohannon said at his news conference leading to Thursday’s game that through football season, he hopes the university itself will gain recognition.
“I truly believe probably after this season, or some point in time, the doors are going to open,” Bohannon said. “(People) are going to find out what a great university is here and all the great things we can offer.”
Between cheers at the watch party, Murphey said even though she’s new to the school, she can feel the excitement on campus.
“The athletic program set the word of the year as ‘believe’ and we believe that we’re in the middle of achieving,” Murphey said. “This awesome campus, and this big huge, awesome university. Everyone’s so excited. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of it?”