The Value of a Student Section
Published: Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 15:10
Ready for a lecture? Because you’re about to hear one, NDSU student section.
To put it blatantly, these last two home games have been a disappointment when it came to the student section being filled out. Now, I get that having full attendance every home game isn’t likely. I also get that not every single NDSU student shows an interest in Bison football, but those people shouldn’t really like my columns anyway and won’t be reading this.
For the students that are there, it certainly has been a disappointing effort. I mean, you guys have been good, but not spectacular like the reputation is. Where’s the passion? Where’s the energetic atmosphere?
Coming into the Fargodome these last two home games, something felt off. The vibe was just boring and bland. And if you haven’t noticed, the team has struggled in these two games. Quarterback Brock Jensen even said the Fargodome wasn’t a tough place to play in during the loss to Indiana State.
I don’t believe he is making excuses for his poor performance that game, he is just making a point. And what a good point it was. Whenever the student section came alive, that was when the Bison played solid ball.
Against Southern Illinois, the student section was only halfway into it until Andrew Okland snagged a 60-yard bomb after a little Wildcat trickery at the end of the third quarter. After that, the Dome was back to its rocking ways and look what happened-- the Bison scored 13 unanswered points to earn the comeback victory.
It should not take that long, though.
The student section gives players more energy. The players feed off their noise to get amped up. And as evident in the Fargodome, the Bison play better when the place gets loud.
This season, NDSU has been playing better on the road. That shouldn’t be when their home stadium is ranked among the 50 best in college. I believe the players lose some of their energy when they see hundreds of empty seats in the student section.
I got the inside scoop from a player (who doesn’t want to be quoted on this) after the game. He said while the lack of students isn’t an excuse for a poor performance, it certainly “bums us out a little when we look up and there are a lot of empty seats.”
I’m not saying the student section is the reason the teams hasn’t played as well in the last couple home games either. What I am saying though, is that I believe the player’s performance is equivalent to how the student section shows up for the game.
Some may call me crazy on that, but the evidence is there.
There is one home game left against rival South Dakota State in a couple weeks. The student section should be filled up for that one. And if it’s not, then the students who are there should still bring back the four-quarter electric atmosphere.
Let’s get the Fargodome to be that difficult place to play in again. The last two home games has been a struggle in doing that.
The Bison are looking good to have a couple home playoff games, where the Dome got its reputation last year. The SDSU game should be the game where the crowd gets back to that reputation.
It’s more important than some might think.