by Cassidy Lawson
If you had ESPN turned on this past Saturday morning, you may have seen a packed purple and gold Quad…yes, that’s right… ESPN CollegeGameDay came to James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia this past Saturday!!!
When I first heard about the possibility of ESPN coming to JMU, I thought no way; It was just a silly rumor and ESPN would never come to an FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) school when they usually go to Alabama, Clemson, etc. Well, guess what? The announcement went live on the 18th and tickets for the JMU game against the Richmond Spiders sold out in 7 hours. Let me paint you a picture….JMU Football games NEVER sell out. The culture at our home games is for students to pre-game a little too hard at the tailgates and then typically leave at half time, if they even make it to the game at all. The fact that a game was sold out was unheard of, (granted the fact that it was our Homecoming Game had a lot to do with it as well). The atmosphere and the school spirit just kept getting more infectious from the moment ESPN tweet
ed at JMU to the time their semi-trucks officially parked on the Quad earlier last week. Of course, the whole reason JMU was chosen was because of our unstoppable energy this season. Up until last week, JMU was on a 7-0 winning streak (our seventh game we beat Elon 51 to zero). Needless to say, our football team was getting noticed. This was the first time in our history that JMU football has ever been 7-0.
The energy leading up to Saturday morning was literally everywhere on campus from our huge pep really, Purple Out, in our football stadium this past Thursday to students camping out on the Quad Friday night to secure their spot for the ESPN pit for optimal video coverage. I was out of town this weekend due to a family commitment, but come 9am on Saturday morning, I was wearing my JMU hoodie and was ready to watch the ESPN coverage. I turned on the TV and was blown away. It was reported there was at least 12,000 people on the Quad alone and later that day it was estimated that 26,000 people were at the game (only 20,000 students go to JMU). The ESPN broadcasters were equally impressed saying that JMU was the “best crowd they had ever seen for a College Game Day”. I was so proud and impressed that students came together for this game and really showed their school spirit. The coverage was so amazing to watch, like our head coach Everett Withers unveiling the new JMU Football helmets and Lee Corso dressing up as James Madison himself and proclaiming a victory over the Richmond Spiders. The day was so perfect and exciting and the game hadn’t even started yet.