The 2014 schedule for the football team was released nearly a month ago and features many big-name programs that play in big-name stadiums. None of those teams or stadiums bigger than Georgia State and the Georgia Dome.
“It’s going to be a great experience being able to showcase our abilities as a team in such a beautiful facility,” junior Jonathan Parker said. “We’ve played in some high caliber stadiums before like the Cowboys stadium and FC Dallas. It’s going to be a great experience for the younger guys on our team.”
The Wildcats will start off their season with a trip to Atlanta, GA. The Georgia Dome has hosted some of the elite teams in the nation such as Alabama, Arkansas State, Tennessee among many others.
“It’s cool to play in a stadium like the Georgia Dome but we can’t let the setting take away from what we’re there to do, which in win a football game,” Parker said.
Compared to Shotwell Stadium, which seats about 15,000 fans and spectators, the Georgia Dome will be a big step up. The Georgia Dome seats more than 71,000. With the mass amount of fans, the Wildcats will look to adjust to the new atmosphere.
“What’s great is playing in a hostile environment,” junior Angel Lopez said. “I don’t know much about Georgia State’s fan base but I hope there are lots of their fans. That’s why I’m looking forward to playing Troy, because I know there will be lots of smack talking from the crowd and I love that environment; there’s nothing like it.”
When the Wildcats played at AT&T Stadium two years ago, they traveled to a venue that had the seating capability to host 80,000 people. Their game against former Lone Star Conference rival Tarleton State would go down as one of the greatest games in ACU history. Their 34-31 loss on a final minute touchdown sealed the loss, but left many memories.
Fast forward to last year, when ACU took on Tarleton again, except this time it was in the 21,000 seating Toyota Stadium in Frisco. Again, the game would give Wildcat fans many reasons to celebrate, but a victory would not be one of them. A 34-41 loss in double overtime gave Tarleton the victory again, but allowed ACU to get a little more comfortable playing in big stadiums.
“I feel like playing in these elite stadiums will be just like playing in the small stadiums that we are used to, except there’s going to be way more fans which will make things that much more exciting,” sophomore Monte Green-Avery said.
The Wildcats season opener against Georgia State will be broadcasted on ESPNU as the first game of the college football season.
“I’m excited,” Lopez said. “Those kinds of games are memory makers. You walk in, feeling like a world-class athlete and play in an amazing environment.”