Flashes of school spirit

Deanna Stevens

Tricia Rosso, sophomore fashion merchandising major, said she will make her first appearance at a Kent State football game Saturday.

The reason?

To watch the Kent State football team take on Akron in a game that could have major Mid-American Conference implications.

But more importantly, Rosso and her dad, an Akron alumnus, are looking forward to the opportunity for bragging rights.

She said the rivalry is good for both schools because it gives the students a chance to show school pride.

“It makes the game more fun for the students,” Rosso said. “It gives people a chance to get to dressed up and show school sprit.”

Freshman finance major Lainie DeLuca said the rivalry was a major reason why she was going to the game.

“I’m not from around here. I’m from Ann Arbor (Mich.) so it will be interesting to see what everyone does,” DeLuca said.

But the rivalry and implications for the standings are not important to some Kent State students.

As a commuter, coming to campus five days a week is enough, said Colin Roach, junior computer information systems major.

But, Roach said he would watch the game on TV if he gets a chance. He added the Flashes’ success as of late should help avoid another 35-3 result like last season.

“Kent seems to be playing pretty good against other MAC teams,” Roach said. “I think it will be a closer game. Plus, it’s at home so that should help.”

The Flashes’ return to Dix Stadium also brings the second opportunity for Tailgate Alley.

Katie Hale, Student Athletic Advisory Committee chair, said the response for the program was great for the Minnesota game, and with some time to work out some issues, it should be even better tomorrow.

“We’re looking for the same kind of results, if not heightened for the Akron rivalry,” Hale said.

Against Minnesota, Kent State drew a crowd of more than 20,000.

Something new Kent State students can enjoy is a Freshman Advisory Council fundraiser. For 50 cents, attendees can pie Kent State students dressed in Akron attire.

Also, Hale said the student tent will be relocated for easier access. The tent will include tables set up with free food and drinks specifically for Kent State students.

Parking Services suggests that students going to the game park at a parking lot on campus, and catch a shuttle from there. Summit Street will be closed to all traffic other than the buses from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Students parked at the stadium are able to move their cars to any C-lot on campus starting Thursday evening until Sunday at 11 p.m.

The enemy is closer than you think

Kent State and Akron are about 10 miles apart, making them the closest rivals school in the nation.

Akron’s proximity also allows for plenty of Zip fans to make their way to Dix Stadium.

Eric Baker, president of the AK-ROWDIES, said the Zips will be well represented at the game.

“This is and has been one of the biggest rivalries in all of college sports for many years now” Baker said. “The players know that, the coaches know that, and our fans know that. This game has a lot of personal meanings for every one involved.ÿSo just like the game all you can do is expect the unexpected when Saturday rolls around.”

The AK-ROWDIES is a student organization that supports the Akron athletics program. They are the equivalent to Students Creating Ruckus, Energy and Mayhem at Kent State.

They were responsible for the “Trojan switch” at last season’s men’s basketball game. The Akron fans dressed up like Kent State students and then changed for the first commercial break.

This time, the Akron men’s basketball team will be able to be included on any plans the organization may have.

Akron forward Romeo Travis said the whole team is coming to the game this weekend.

He said everyone on Akron’s campus is excited to beat Kent State, especially because of the impact it can have on the MAC post season.

ÿ”I think this game has huge implications on the MAC championship because we already lost to Central Michigan,” said Travis in an e-mail interview.

AK-ROWDIES Director Chad Welker said the game is the perfect thing for students to do until other later college football games.

“Everyone knows Ohio State doesn’t play until 8 p.m.,” Welker said. “They’ll all need something to do until then.”

But like Kent State, not all Akron students are buying into the hype.

Tom “Jamal” Svetlik, Akron University freshman computer engineer major, is not making any special plans to come see the game.

“I don’t know if I’m going,” Svetlik said. “I’m sort of a spontaneous person. If someone calls me then I might go.”

He added that he didn’t know much about either team, but he thinks the Flashes may pull out the win.

“I’ll go for Kent this year, why not?” Svetlik joked.

His brother, Mike Svetlik, junior media production major, also said his priorities weren’t with the rivalry.

“When I decided to come to college, I wasn’t coming for the college life, or the college experience,” he said. “I came to college to get educated, not to live the college experience – to get my education for when I get out into the real world.”

Contact football reporter Deanna Stevens at [email protected].