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It’s game week! Football is nearly here, just three days away. I’m excited myself and I know you are, too, as we officially sold out of tickets yesterday for this weekend. Our season-opener against Southern Miss will go down as the biggest crowd in Mississippi State history and all 61,000-plus of us will be a part of it.
With our first game in mind, we’ve got some particulars to go over before you get to campus.
FOOTBALL GAMEDAY CHANGES
There are several new things to mention, so I’ll run through them quickly.
• The ticket office – including will call – has moved to the north end zone, located next to the new Mississippi Plaza.
• Students: your main entrance is Gate L (southeast corner), with additional scanners at Gates F and H (northwest corner). Your seats are first-come first-served in the north end zone, sections 8-17.
• For everyone: we now have a total of 12 elevators, with elevators in each corner of the stadium.
• We also have new gates in two of those corners, one on the northwest side and on the northeast side.
• Gridiron, State Level and Scoreboard Club patrons should enter DWS through the Mississippi Plaza.
• The visiting team will now enter on the north side of the stadium, while our Bulldogs will continue to come in through the south side at the M Club building through The Junction.
• Those who bought commemorative Davis Wade bricks before the deadline, your brick has been placed outside the north end zone.
• Dawg Walk will begin two hours before kickoff, as always, meaning the team will arrive around 4:30 Saturday afternoon.
• The gates will also open two hours before kickoff every week.
• Lastly, and as usual, The Junction and all tailgating areas will open for tent setup at 4 p.m. on Friday afternoon.
I went into detail on several more gameday and stadium/ticket items in my chat on HailState.com yesterday, which you can review at your leisure.
DAWG TALK AND COWBELL YELL ON THURSDAY NIGHT
Saturday is the big day, but Thursday will get the weekend and season kicked off. The first episode of Dawg Talk with Dan Mullen begins at 7 and we’re excited to be hosted by The Dawg House Grill, which just opened on Main Street in the Historic State Theater and has signed on to host all of our coaches shows.
After Dawg Talk, our annual Cowbell Yell begins at 10 p.m. in Davis Wade Stadium and gates open at 9. It’s the kickoff of the season for our students, though all are welcome. I’ll be speaking myself, but I’m particularly looking forward to hearing from former Bulldog great and Super Bowl Champion Donald Lee. Donald has meant a lot to our program both as a player and a supporter after graduation.
This ought to be our last facilities update for a little while, though we have plenty of projects in the near future with golf already underway and softball, tennis, soccer and baseball all coming down the pipe.
The good news is that there is very little to update you on, other than to say the north end zone is functionally complete. The keys have been turned over, though crews are still inside finishing some small checklist items and making sure they’ve successfully cleaned up after themselves. No matter where your seats are in Davis Wade, I’d encourage you to take a minute and walk through the concourse. Our nostalgic Bulldogs will appreciate the new banners commemorating some of the greatest games in our history, and certainly all of our Mississippians will enjoy the Mississippi Plaza centered at the front of the stadium.
It’s easy to tell already the stadium will be louder – due equally to acoustics and the increase in capacity – and I can’t wait to be a part of the atmosphere on Saturday.
SUGGESTION TO SMOOTH POST-GAME TRAFFIC
With a record number of people inside the stadium, we will also have a record number of people leaving the stadium after the game. Typically, traffic is fine coming in when we play at night, but traffic on the way out can often become congested as everyone tries to leave at the same time.
While the stadium has expanded, our roads have not. With that in mind, I thought it might help for those who live in the Golden Triangle area or are spending their night in Starkville to take their time on their way out and let those who have a longer drive hit the road first. For entertainment as you wait, Coach Mullen’s press conference will be broadcast on both of our video boards, though I have to imagine a chair and a snack at your tailgates might also be hard to pass up.
I wanted to take a moment to share with you some changes we believe will have a positive effect on the atmosphere at DWS, beyond the expansion and new video board. We heard your suggestions and you’ll be pleased to hear we are limiting standard commercials (the type you would see on TV) to pre-game, halftime and between quarters. None will play during the quarters, though there will be some sponsored elements (such as the Play of the Game Presented by Brand X) I believe you will find unintrusive.
The change offers our marketing team much more flexibility in enhancing the atmosphere and experience for everyone.
Before we go, I can’t leave without wishing good luck to our volleyball and cross country teams who both open their seasons on the road this weekend. Bring us back some wins! Additionally, our soccer team is on the road Thursday then back in town on Sunday to host Southern Miss, so I hope you’ll stick around an extra couple hours to cheer them on.
This is one of the most exciting times of the year and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in Starkville this weekend. Don’t forget to wear Maroon on Friday and White on Saturday! It’s a White Out for the opener.
We appreciate what you do for Mississippi State Athletics and want to encourage you to get others involved. There are three things you can do to help the athletic department at Mississippi State reach its desired goals –
1. Buy Season Tickets
2. Financially Support the Bulldog Club
3. Get Others To Do The Same
Thanks for taking the time to read this Update.