JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) — East Tennessee State University football fans might want to keep their eyes on the field between quarters as the Bucs’ home schedule kicks off Saturday against Carson-Newman.

ETSU’s athletic department has added a few wrinkles to “repackage the fan experience,” Assistant Athletic Director of Ticketing and Revenue Development Mike Desrochers said Thursday.

Each game, a fan will have a chance to try and beat an ETSU representative in a 100-yard footrace from end zone to end zone. Another will test their leg in a field goal attempt, while a third will try to hit an on-field target in a “quarterback toss challenge.”

Desrochers said the program saw the success of similar experiences at ETSU basketball games.

“We looked at our football and were like, how do we just mimic what we’re doing at basketball for football,” he said. “These things just kinda popped out like, ‘you know what, people will get engaged.’

“We want our eyes to be on the field the entire time, we don’t want there to be dead space and so this will kind of get you to be in tune with what’s going on the entire time.”

The first test of the new features will come after the first quarter ends following a 5:32 p.m. kickoff against the NCAA Division II Eagles. The other two so-called “fan activations” will occur at halftime and between the third and fourth quarters.

Desrochers expects those participants to be “performing” before a capacity crowd of more than 8,000 fans. Saturday is Teacher Appreciation Day, so all teachers who present a valid staff ID will gain free admittance to the stadium.

Desrochers said season tickets have sold at a clip better than he anticipated and that some are still available. Those start at $100 for bronze-level reserved seats and the Bucs play five home games this season.

“If you wanted to get just a one-off ticket and you wanted a reserved seat those’ll start at $25 for the bronze price level,” he said.

“We do open up our hillside seating the day of the game for 10 dollars per seat.”

That hillside behind the north end zone won’t be far from a revamped Food City Fan Zone outside the Center for Physical Activity, Desrochers said.

“We want it to be kind of the place where our fans converge on before they go into the stadium.”

New features include a BrightRidge “media zone” that will cast games from across the country, food trucks, and a new feature with Voice of the Bucs Jay Sandos called “Grill Talk.” Desrochers described it as an ESPN Gameday type environment where Sandos will interview coaches from other ETSU sports and other guests from across the athletic department.

The Bucs home schedule after Carson-Newman includes homecoming’s Mercer game at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 7 and a 3:30 start the following Saturday against Wofford.

November games both start at 1 p.m. and include a Nov. 4 game against VMI and the regular-season finale Nov. 18 against The Citadel. The Bucs’ only conference win last season came against VMI, though three of their seven conference losses were decided by a touchdown or less.

The team opened this season with a 49-3 loss at Jacksonville State.