Kennesaw State's first football opponent set

The day that Kennesaw State fans have been awaiting is finally known.

The Owls’ first football game will be played at East Tennessee State on Sept. 3, 2015, a Thursday. The game will be played at an off-campus stadium. Kennesaw State officials took a flight to Johnson City, Tenn., for a news conference held late Thursday afternoon by both schools in East Tennessee’s Millennium Center ballroom.

It is a part of a home-and-home series between the schools. The Buccaneers will return to play at Kennesaw State on Sept. 3, 2016.

“I know it will be a great game with two new programs meeting for the first time, and the excitement on both campuses is going to continue to build between now and kickoff. The game atmosphere is going to be unbelievable,” coach Brian Bohannon said in a statement. “I know coach (Carl) Torbush will have his team ready to play, and our players and coaches will come out with great enthusiasm, intensity and passion.”

The Owls’ 2015 home opener isn’t set. Athletic director Vaughn Williams said he is waiting on contracts from several schools that will fill out the non-conference portion of the schedule.

The Owls will play six Big South Conference games in 2015. Williams said they mostly likely will play five home games in 2015.

Williams wouldn’t say which schools the Owls will play in the non-conference portion, but he said the list likely will include another FCS-level school from the region, a Division II school and an NAIA school.

Bohannon has said he has no interest in playing any games in exchange for guaranteed payments in the team’s first few years.

“We want to build a winning culture,” he said.

While Kennesaw State is starting a program, East Tennessee is re-starting one. The Buccaneers discontinued football after the 2003 season. The program was renewed in 2013. Torbush, a former North Carolina head coach, is the team’s coach.

Former Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer was an advisor in the process, playing a role similar to the one Vince Dooley played for KSU.

Bohannon said that newness was part of the attraction in creating the matchup.

“I think it’s great because we are on the same time frame,” he said.