I had the opportunity to travel to Knoxville yesterday to attend the 2008 Homecoming game between UT and Wyoming. I was thrilled with the chance to go, because I decided to take Rachel and Elise. They had never before attended a UT football game, so we packed up early Saturday morning and hit the road for Knoxville. Unfortunately, the Vols chose Homecoming to display their worst performance of the season, and lost to the Cowboys 13-7.
I’m not even going to go into a detailed recap of the game this time. I’ll simply say that the defense again played well, but the offense was, by far, the worst yet. Neither Stephens nor Crompton could do anything to get the ball moving. It was just a very ugly game.
There were 2 things about the game that really stood out to me, and neither had anything to do with what was taking place on the field. Instead, what stood out to me was the crowd. First, the stands were less crowded than I ever remember at a UT home game. According to today’s Tennessean, attendance was 99,489, but I’m not convinced there were that many people in the stands. I took the photo to the right about 45 minutes prior to kickoff. Notice how few people are seated. The photo below was taken during the band’s pregame show, about 5 minutes before kickoff. Much of the upper level looked this way throughout the game.
The second thing that stood out about the crowd was the lack of energy and excitement. Most of the fans, including the students, just did not seem to be into the game. There were times when I wondered if people were actually watching what was happening on the filed. This was the first game I had attended in about 3 years, and it was not the Neyland Stadium atmosphere I am accustomed to.
But, despite the poor performance by the Vols, I had a great time with my girls. As I mentioned, this was their first UT football game. Despite being cold, they had lots of fun and enjoyed the experience. They really seemed to enjoy being in the crowd and cheering for the Vols. Rachel even told me she wants to go again, which is fantastic considering she has told me in the past how much she dislikes football. Maybe dad is rubbing off on her! Elise’s favorite part seemed to be shaking her orange and white pom-pom and yelling for the team. It was great to spend the day with my girls!
Below are a few of the photos captured at their first UT football game.