The unofficial kickoff to the new MTSU football season took place on Sunday Aug. 10 with the annual Fan Day on campus.
It was the first chance for the Blue Raider fans to meet the 2014 football team along with several other activities. Thousands of them are excited about the team’s chances this season, including two who have supported the program for a long time.
“We lost some good players from last year, but I think we will be able to fill all of our needs,” MTSU supporter Chris Groce said. “I am expecting a great year, and I think we will challenge Marshall for the (Conference USA) championship.”
Groce was born as a Blue Raider fan, and he has been a member of the Blue Raider Athletic Association for the past 13 years.
Fellow Blue Raider supporter Don Witherspoon added: “We have a great home schedule, even though we open with a lower division opponent. The rest of the home schedule is unbelievable. BYU coming in is going to be a great thing for our stadium. The home schedule is a terrific schedule. I hope people will buy season tickets and get behind the program.”
Witherspoon, who graduated from MTSU in 1964, is probably one of the biggest MTSU football fans you will find. He has been a season ticket holder since 2000 and a member of the BRAA. He has been to every bowl game the program has played in since joining the FBS ranks. Last season, he traveled to BYU, and this season he will be attending the road contest at Minnesota.
This year’s home schedule is one of the best the program has had in the past few seasons. Besides opening the season on Aug. 30 against Savannah State, and hosting national power BYU on Nov. 1, the Blue Raiders will also welcome league foes Western Kentucky, Southern Miss, UAB and Florida Atlantic.
These two fans are part of the reason why the MTSU players and coaches really look forward to events like Fan Day. Besides getting a chance to meet them and get autographs, the new Nike uniforms were revealed to everyone in attendance. All of the supporters were excited to see the updated look for this upcoming season.
As for the MTSU players and coaches, Fan Day was also an exciting time for them, because they hope events like this one will help gain new ones. The ultimate goal for the program this season is to sell out Floyd Stadium this season.
“We love our fans, and they keep us going,” MTSU junior right defensive end Alexandro Antoine said. “If it was not for them, we would not go as hard as we do. We love seeing them at Fan Day and signing autographs for those little kids. There is nothing better than that.”
Blue Raiders junior cornerback Jared Singletary added: “We are trying to fill out this stadium this season. We worked hard during these past two seasons, and we want to pack this whole thing. It is going to be fun to meet the fans, take pictures and sign autographs.”
Hopefully, events like this one will help gain new Blue Raider fans, while keeping those who have supported them for a long time wanting more success on the field.