Fill ‘er up for the final home game

Saturday was a great day for UTSA.  Volleyball swept its 12th straight opponent and football erased a 14-point deficit to win 17-14 in overtime.  The team did it in what was called the “Orange-out” game.  

The Orange out idea encouraged fans to show up wearing the color orange.  There were even $10 “Orange Crush” T-shirts.  The “Orange-out” didn’t work though as only 25,977 showed up to watch what might be the greatest game in the short history of UTSA football.

The sub-30,000 crowd could have been due to the kickoff time (12:30 p.m. as opposed to the normal 1 p.m. start) or the fact that by Halloween weekend everyone is looking forward to basketball season.

Those are valid reasons, but I believe the reason the Roadrunners played a home game in front of fewer than 30,000 for the first time was due to the t-shirts.

I am not saying the t-shirts weren’t a great idea, but most students are not going to pay $10 for a t-shirt that is a one-time deal.  Had the shirts been free, the crowd might have been bigger.

The theme of “Orange Crush” was not as loudly announced as the other themes this year.  In fact, on the UTSA athletics website, the schedule is organized so that each home game has a theme, from “The Inaugural game” against Northeastern to “Service Day” against Minot State on Nov. 19.  The one home game that didn’t have a title above it on the football schedule was Oct. 29 versus Georgia State.

Had the athletic department said something about “Orange Crush” above the game, it may have attracted more people to the game, at the very least it would have gotten more people to wear orange.

The 25,977 attendance Saturday did not affect UTSA’s quest to top South Florida’s record for highest average crowd for an inaugural season.  The Roadrunners, with an average of 36,152, are ahead of the South Florida average of 33,038 set back in 1997. As long as at least 20,000 people attend the final home game against Minot State, the Roadrunners will have averaged 33,460, which would beat the old record.  As it is the last football game of the season, it would look really good if two or three times the minimum required to break the record attended.  

Think of the reaction around the country if, for their final game of the inaugural season, the UTSA Roadrunners had 60,000-65,000 attend a game between them and a school from North Dakota.

They say San Antonio is hungry for football, and the attendance at the games has shown that, so why not send the inaugural season out with a bang? As Red McCombs said earlier this year “Fill ‘er up.”