Anyone passing by Bobby Dodd stadium last Thursday was in for an interesting sight. The streets outside of the stadium were packed with people dressed from head to toe in white gear as they prepped to head inside for the nationally televised Thursday night game against ACC rival Virginia Tech. As the stadium filled up, ESPN cameras scanned the scene, taking in the atmosphere of excitement that was being emitted, not only from the student section, but from the stadium as a whole.
Not only did the game mark the 19th Thursday night game hosted by Tech, which is more than any other school in the ACC, but it also marked the 100th anniversary of Grant Field. Built in 1913 by students attending the Institute, Grant Field is now the oldest on-campus stadium in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
In the past, Thursday night games have yielded relatively low attendance for Tech, with low attendance at Tech’s last Thursday night game in 2011, also against Virginia Tech. Low attendance to weeknight Tech games is not anything shocking, however. With many classes assigning Friday due dates for projects and homework and many clubs choosing Thursday nights for meetings and events, game attendance often gets overshadowed by other commitments.
Students such as first-year CS major Ritika Ravichandra experienced this choice firsthand.
“I had a lot of work and other events going on that had a direct impact on my future here at Tech. Those took priority over football.”
Although exact statistics could not be obtained by press time, attendance did increase with more students coming out to support the Jackets.
This increase in attendance showed that the Institute was successful in their efforts to create a large hype for the event for fans both on and off campus.
In honor of the field’s anniversary, all living All-Americans were invited to the game and those who attended were honored at half-time.
SGA also lured students in by offering free white anniversary shirts to the first 3000 people to enter the stadium. For some, like first-year Business Administration student Hannah Keith, going to the game was merely the best thing to do.
“It was a game, and I had spare time.” Keith said.
For others, however, it was something they had looked forward to since schedules were announced in February.
“I wouldn’t dream of missing it,” said fifth-year IE major Anna Barrs, “It’s one of my favorite games because you can visually see Georgia Tech as one united front.”
As kickoff neared, students in the Swarm section became more and more enthusiastic. Chants counting down the moments until football rang throughout the stadium, only to be replaced by loud shouts as the Wreck appeared on the field.
This energy remained constant throughout the game, even as the Jackets’ score deficit grew.
As the end of the fourth quarter neared, the crowd seemed to rally around the team even more. In the final seconds of the game, however, some fans began to file out of the stadium before the game clock was finished.
Despite this, many students in the student section remained standing. They remained standing as Virginia Tech took a knee and as the football team slowly made their way back to the locker room.