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JMU Is No Campus for Old Men

Finally! We’ve heard from JMU sports correspondent Rob Abbott, who was at JMU’s epic victory over top-ranked Appalachian State on Saturday night. His first-hand account follows and is worthwhile for anyone who went to JMU and/or has partied in a college town well past their college years. Enjoy …


We pulled into town about 12:30 on Saturday and went down to Dave’s for lunch. We sat on the rooftop deck and had a couple 24 oz. Sierra Nevada’s for the very Harrisonburg price of only $4.25 … good start. There were a handful of people there having lunch and drinks before the game, but I still don’t think most of the guys I was with knew what to expect. By the time we loaded up the car and made our way to campus, the guys that hadn’t been back in years were in disbelief.

Every student we saw had JMU football stuff on. Beat App. State t-shirts, JMU Gameday t-shirts, and the most surprising thing, JMU jerseys. (Ed. note — Mind blown.) I’d say 50% of the girls we saw had JMU jerseys. I never would have guessed that. We had a parking pass for the garage so we ditched our car there and just rolled the cooler over to another lot across from Godwin field. The tailgate was fun. There were tons of alumni and pretty much everyone couldn’t stop talking about how this was like bizarro JMU compared to years ago.

We made it into the game about 10 minutes before kickoff and the student side was already full and loud! There were Go Dukes signs on every seat and people were waiving them and jumping up and down before the game even started. The first half sucked.

Luckily JMU has a very tailgate friendly ticket policy. They let you leave during halftime and come back, so we went back to the car and had a couple beers. My buddy Todd and I were just walking back into the stadium when McGee took the kick back for a TD. The crowd was going bananas and it felt like about 5 minutes later the game was tied. It was almost bizarre how quickly the tide turned. It’s easy to say this now, but it wasn’t even nerve racking down the stretch. It was like the crowd just knew JMU was going to win. Keep in mind I’m about the most nervous football fan on the planet and I spent half time drowning my sorrows telling anyone who would listen that Coach Matthews should be fired.

We rushed the field with everyone else after the game and it was a mob scene. I tried to take videos, but it was complete chaos and so loud that they ended up being worthless. It also smelled very bad, which I guess makes sense considering I was basically trapped inside a mob of thousands of college kids who had been drinking all day and were trying to pick up sweaty football players.

After the game was kind of funny. Pretty much everyone I talked to had a voice that was just shot. We hung out at BW3 for a while and then eventually made our way to Forest Hills. I was expecting the students to pretty much ignore us, but they were actually really cool. They were getting us beers and asking tons of questions about what JMU was like when we were there. I don’t know who was more shocked though, the alums like me who had never seen a gameday anything like Saturday, or the current students who couldn’t believe that they were at a party with alums who attended JMU when they were in kindergarten (that part kind of spooked me to be honest).

I had fun, but was kind of over the idea of being at a college party pretty quickly. More and more alums starting showing up and that was our cue to leave. Well that was one clue. There was another one also. Some students were clearly over the idea of having alums at the party. I could deduce this because they started chanting “Old Guys Leave! Old Guys Leave!” (Ed. note — Emphasis added, because that’s too funny.)

Gastner and I split and then the people having the party came and got us and said that they wanted us to stay and that they were talking about “other old people, not us.” I don’t know what to make of that, but it was kind of funny. Gastner and I thanked the hosts, but pretty much agreed with the students that were chanting so we just split.

All in all, it was really fun. It’s hard to imagine that it took the school so long to figure out that spending $$ on facilities, promoting the gameday experience, and then encouraging people to tailgate is a good thing.

(Photo via Flickr)

D.C. sports fan and digital media guy that's been doing this since 2004. Once threw a football further than Chris Cooley.



  1. Chris Mottram

    September 23, 2008 at 4:22 PM

    You had me at $4.25 24 oz. Sierra Nevada’s. Although down here in Charlotte, beer prices ain’t bad. Almost every bar has $2 (or cheaper) PBR and High Life, happy hours are illegal so any beer specials run til close, and there’s one spot with $2 Guinness all day, everyday (which I think I’ve mentioned here before, but it’s just that amazing).

    It’s even amazing to me how into the football program students are now. When I was down there in ’01-’02, I don’t think I ever knew one person who went to even one game in the entire two years I was living in H’Burg.

  2. puttsfromtherough

    September 23, 2008 at 4:39 PM

    I would like to thank JMU for knocking off APP St. Now my Richmond Spiders are #1. Big game on Oct 11 at Richmond. Think Chris, Herbie and Corso will be broadcasting from there?

  3. bobby steels

    September 23, 2008 at 6:45 PM

    What bar has $2 Guiness all day every day???? I’ve been in the South long enough (went to school in Clemson) to have gotten used to super duper cheap beer, but I haven’t come accross anything like that before. Granted, I’ve only been in Charlotte for a little while, but it sounds like this spot needs to become one of my regulars.

  4. Chris Mottram

    September 23, 2008 at 7:06 PM

    Er, sorry, typo. It’s $3 Guinness pints all day, every day. Tyber Creek Tavern on South Blvd, near the South End area. It’s a great bar, very relaxed with a minimal amount of douchebags.

  5. Jamie Mottram

    September 23, 2008 at 7:58 PM

    We’re talking about $3 beers. JM’s (where BW3 now stands in H’burg) had dime drafts, son. We used to slap a dollar on the bar and get nine cups of beer.*

    Also, I should’ve prefaced Abbott’s account with this: In four years at JMU, I went to exactly one football game. That’s how far the program has come.

    * The extra dime was, you know, a little something for the effort.

  6. smurphette

    September 23, 2008 at 11:28 PM

    Ah, memories. When I was at Notre Dame there was this bar called Boat Club where you could get dollar pitchers and dollar shots on Friday and Saturday nights. There was a $5 cover. I don’t think there was a single time I went there that I didn’t black out or have a pitcher poured on me.

    Needless to say, that fine establishment has since been shut down by the Indiana Liquor Board.

  7. packpigskinfan23

    September 24, 2008 at 12:54 AM

    How about $5 cover… free beer.

    That place was PACKED here in Raleigh after we beat ECU last weekend.

  8. Chris Mottram

    September 24, 2008 at 8:24 AM

    $3 16 oz Guinness > 10 cent Natty Light draft

  9. Jamie Mottram

    September 24, 2008 at 8:27 AM

    “$3 16 oz Guinness > 10 cent Natty Light draft”

    I would agree with that now, sure. But not when I was 19, no.

    And what were we drinking down in Wise County? $2 Blue Moons?

  10. Jeff V

    September 24, 2008 at 9:21 AM

    Whatevs!!1!1!! I just found a BYOB Sushi place that I can eat all the sushi I could handle for probably 15 bucks

  11. bobby steels

    September 24, 2008 at 8:41 PM

    Awesome I work in the South End area. I just wish I was still in college so I could shoehorn as many of those $3 Guinness into a 45 minute lunch as possible. At least I know what I’m doing the second I get out of work on payday.

  12. barrykp

    October 31, 2008 at 1:55 PM

    I was arrested during this game even started. I ran through the student section with a flag and the Cops were none too pleased. Didn’t even see kickoff and had to listen to the last 5 minutes in the cop station. Still had a blast.

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