In the first ever football game at SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, two top 10 FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) programs battled in a game for the ages as Kennesaw State University (KSU) claimed a 60-52 victory over Jacksonville State University (JSU) in five overtimes.
The thriller ended after Marietta native Bryson Armstrong intercepted a pass in the end zone from JSU quarterback Zerrick Cooper.
“This was probably the most exciting football game I have ever been a part of in my coaching career,” said KSU head coach Brian Bohannon. “Two really good football teams left every ounce of what they had on the grass.”
The teams matched each other step for step in the first four overtimes, more than doubling the score total from regulation. KSU scored late in the fourth quarter to send the contest to overtime off a touchdown from quarterback Chandler Burks from a yard out, followed by the extra point from Justin Thompson to tie things up at 24-24 with 4:52 to go.
“I came here to be able to be on a stage like this that provides me the opportunity to play big-time football,” Burks said. “It just adds to the greatness and excitement that’s around Kennesaw State.”
The Owls and Gamecocks already had claimed their respective conference championship titles for the season, earning both teams an automatic bid into the FCS playoffs. However, the SunTrust game carried the weight of the winner being selected as a seeded team in the postseason. With the win, Kennesaw State became the No. 4 seed in the FCS playoffs, earning a first-round bye in the tournament.
– Katie Beall, editor of Around Acworth.