Patriot Bowl atmosphere not what fans anticipated

Chris Gates

Kent State students and alumni let-down after BC game

Kent State fans would have rather seen the Flashes play Boston College at Dix Stadium.

With a crowd of 10,788 and the Flashes unable to move the ball, many students and alumni were frustrated with the game and atmosphere.

“This seems to be really wasteful with the amount of people that showed up,” sophomore nursing major Carl Scott said as the game wound down. “There was really no reason to have it this far away from campus”.

“I was expecting a lot more people here,” he added.

The crowd was engaged at the start of the game. Josh Cribbs received a loud ovation from everyone in attendance when he made his appearance for the opening coin toss. As Kent State’s defense forced Boston College’s offense off the field on the first drive, spirits were high.

However, four minutes into the first quarter, Kent State students, which occupied the area where the dogpound resides during Cleveland Browns’ games, were forced to sit by ushers, eliminating much of the crowd noise at the start of game.

Once Boston College scored its first touchdown, it was clear that momentum was swinging in the Eagles’ favor. Boston College fans who made the trip filled the area between both 10-yard lines behind the Eagles’ bench, and were the most vocal for the remainder of the game.

Cleveland Browns Stadium, which seats approximately 73,000, was sparsely occupied. The majority of both sidelines were filled in the lower bowl, with greater spaces in each corner. No seating was occupied in the upper tiers.

“Honestly, it felt like a good middle school game as far as the crowd goes,” Manny Budinger, a freshman civil engineering at Ohio University, said. “It’s a good idea with the right situation.

“We’ve got Boston College and Kent State,” he added. “We’re moving farther west from both teams to play at a pro stadium. I don’t think it really works.”

As the game wore on, and Kent State’s offense struggled against a bigger Boston College team, fans became preoccupied. Many of the Kent State student section missed the second touchdown of the game for a T-shirt toss, and the most noise in the fourth quarter came from a group of about 20 fans that took it upon themselves to heckle Boston College’s backup long snapper.

When Kent State senior quarterback Julian Edelman threw an interception inside the five-yard-line in the fourth quarter, the remaining fans retreated to the exits.

“I’m disappointed more Kent State fans aren’t here to cheer on our Golden Flashes,” Kent State alumnus Mike Balloway said. “If we would’ve just played at Kent, we’d have more people here.”

Two years ago, Kent State hosted the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Dix Stadium. The Flashes ended up losing that game 44-0 in front of 20,126 fans. The atmosphere didn’t help the Flashes then, but students wished they could at least have a bigger crowd for the game.

“Obviously, you don’t expect to win this game against an (Atlantic Coast Conference) opponent,” junior marketing major Brendan Provenzale said. “On campus more people would have come like the Minnesota game a couple years ago. But then we lost 44-0 so it wasn’t anything to get excited about.”

The atmosphere figures to improve as the Flashes will play their final five home games at Dix Stadium starting Sept. 13 against Delaware State. The team travels to Iowa State next week, where it started last season with a 23-14 win. It was the Flashes’ first ever win against a BCS conference opponent.

Contact sports reporter Chris Gates at [email protected].