Conference attendance record set at The Rock
Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 00:09
Saturday’s game against ECU was an important game for many reasons. It was the first home game for new head football coach Ellis Johnson. It was the first time many fans would get to see the Golden Eagles play in person this season. It was the first conference game of the season for the team, and it was the game centered around the Fill To The Top campaign developed by Athletic Director Jeff Hammond.
Although the Eagles lost the season opener against Nebraska three weeks ago, fans came out in full force to watch the East Carolina game on a hot, humid Saturday afternoon. Midway through the third quarter, the attendance for the game was announced as 34,140 - a new record for a conference game at M.M. Roberts Stadium. This was the largest crowd ever for a conference game, but only the fifth largest crowd to ever attend a Southern Miss home football game.
According to the athletic department, the 2009 season opening win against Alcorn State was the largest crowd ever recorded at Southern Miss, with 36,232 fans in attendance. The second-largest crowd recorded was 36,152 against Nebraska on Sept. 25, 2003, the third-largest occurred against Jackson State with 35,169 in attendance on Aug. 31, 2002 and the fourth was during Brett Favre’s time, when Southern Miss hosted Mississippi State on Sept. 9, 1989 in front of 34,189 fans.
M.M. Roberts Stadium is designed to hold only 36,000 fans, but with the recent renovations in 2008, more fans can now stand on the top level of the south endzone suites.
Before the home opener, many tickets were sold through the Fill To The Top campaign, which aimed to sell upper deck tickets for lowered prices, allowing more fans to be able to see the game. Also helping with the record attendance was an increase in season ticket sales.
According to Brent Jones, the Associate Athletic Director of Marketing and Communication, the athletic department “was above last year’s pace with season ticket (sales).”
The next home football game is scheduled for Sept. 29 against No. 17 ranked Louisville. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.