HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WTOK) - The tailgate experience at The Rock was one to remember for USM and Kentucky supporters. Generation of fans young and old had this date marked on their calendars for this highly anticipated rematch.
“I’m really excited. We came last season and we walked around and went to the game place. It was really fun. We like going here because our dad’s a fan of this place. So me, her and Jake have been raised up here. So it’s really fun,” Noah Chisolm said.
The custom of fans joining together for this time is rooted deep in college football. Enthusiasts of the game – even some from our viewing area – were thrilled in the energy fans brought Saturday afternoon.
“Big experience here, SEC game, The Rock, its coming down tonight. It’s more people out here than I’ve seen that I’ve been at school here,” Andrew Dunn, a junior at Southern Mississippi said.
“I’m a transfer from East Mississippi Community College, so this is my first experience here and it’s awesome. It’s a family atmosphere, everybody’s getting along with everyone. So you’re meeting new people, and it’s a great experience,” Colby Ethridge, a junior at Southern Mississippi said.
This experience comes as no surprise for many – as the tradition continues as an undergrad and as an alumni of Golden Eagle nation.
“I remember when I was a freshman at USM. I came down out of my room, it was the first home game. Me and my friends walked around from tent to tent, and people offered us food. We were new to the experience, we felt a part of the golden eagle nation, golden eagle family immediately. So that’s what you get when you tailgate at USM,” Southern Mississippi alumnus Marcus Coleman said.
Win, loss, or draw, the motto “Southern Miss to the Top”, of this active fan base will continue to ring through the streets of Hattiesburg.
Kentucky edged out the victory over the Golden Eagles 24-17.