BROOKINGS, S.D. (KELO) — The SDSU football team averaged more than 15,000 fans at their home games last year. That number has climbed again, leading to one of the best attended seasons in Jackrabbit history.
SDSU celebrated their National Championship in their season opener against Western Oregon. More than 16,000 fans were in attendance.
The Jacks have had four home games since then, with all of them seeing a capacity crowd of more than 19,000 in the stands. That includes a stadium record against NDSU with 19,431 in attendance.
“We were getting closer and closer to full stadiums and creating an atmosphere, but it wasn’t until winning the championship that the stadium started getting sold out,” SDSU head coach Jimmy Rogers said.
The rise in numbers forces opposing teams to practice with crowd noise, so they can attempt to communicate come game day, but that doesn’t make the team immune to the sound.
“What doesn’t happen in practice is the momentum swings of a game and how a stadium can really deplete another teams energy, just by the spirit in the stadium,” Rogers said.
SDSU is averaging 18,721 fans per home game this season and that equals a lot of noise.
While the team embraces the sound, they’ve had to adjust as the defense now also practices with crowd noise.
“This is the first year where we’ve continuously practiced with crowd noise for sure,” Rogers said. “When we weren’t sharp communicating against Montana State and we started to sell this out, I felt it was important to put our guys into that situation and practice that more often than typically what we’re used to practicing in.”
More fans in the stands is a big impact for SDSU, but many may not understand everything that it promotes for the Jackrabbits.
“Just with the spirit in which they bring, the noise volume on game day, the ability to paint a picture to a recruit that’s on campus, that if you want to be a part of something special, come to South Dakota State,” Rogers said. “I think it all intertwines together.”
SDSU is hoping the numbers continue to grow and in the meantime, they’ll just continue to do their job on the field.
“Being an alum from here, I think there’s a certain level of pride of representing where you’re from. They want to represent a winner and I respect that. Our job is to keep doing our deal,” Rogers said.
SDSU has one home game remaining against Missouri State on Saturday. The majority of the tickets have been sold, but there are still some available on their website. we’ll be right back.