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The Tiger

Your game day playbook

Craig Mahaffey // Courtesy

The Clemson Tiger points at the camera during a Clemson football game in Memorial Stadium. 

Saturdays in the fall at Clemson are a spectacle like no other. Game days are an all-day affair, and although extremely fun and exciting, they can be pretty exhausting and overwhelming at times. Hopefully, this guide can ensure that you are well prepared and know what to expect and how to navigate your first season of game days! 

Timing is everything! 

Game times are released no later than six days before each game day. Make sure you know what time the game is on Saturday so you can plan accordingly. 

  • Noon games… not the most ideal time to say the least. A noon game time means a morning tailgate or pre-game function. Sometimes tailgates for noon games are held after the game for the not-so-early bird. If it’s a noon game on Saturday, get plenty of rest on Friday so you can put your best foot forward in the morning! Also, game day is no quiet event — the whole town celebrates the Tigers, so if your alarm does not wake you, someone’s tailgate sure will get you up bright and early!

  • Midday games: a personal favorite of mine! The mornings are more relaxed; game time is not till around 2 or 3 p.m. — meaning you get out of the stadium around 6 p.m., and the rest of the night is yours! One thing — it gets hot — like really hot — so wear some sunscreen and try and get a spot in the shade to enjoy the game. 

  • Night games: worth the wait. Although waiting around all Saturday for the Tigers to take the field is tedious, the energy in Death Valley under the lights is unmatched. So make sure to make it through the day if you have tickets to a night game this season — you won’t regret it. 

The game 

  • Get there early enough to watch the team run down The Hill — it really is the most exciting 25 seconds in college football! With that, there is ALWAYS heavy foot traffic to get to the stadium, so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get there and get situated. 

  • Student entrances: If you opted for student tickets through the lottery, you could be seated in the upper or lower deck or placed on The Hill — make sure to check your ticket to see where you’ll be watching the game. If you have a lower deck or Hill ticket, you’ll enter through Gate 1, which is to the left of the scoreboard if you’re looking at the stadium. If you have an upper-deck ticket, make your way to Gate 16, which is past the scoreboard on the left and all the way up the adjacent hill! 

  • Stay throughout the game!: There are some key moments during every home game that you don’t want to miss! At halftime, the Tiger Band takes the field, plays a few catchy tunes and makes the “C-L-E-M-S-O-N” formation; it’s quite a show! The drum line and Rally Cat performances are also entertaining to watch throughout the game — both include a few upside-down moments! Then, right before the fourth quarter kicks off, get ready to throw up your four fingers and watch one of the most memorable hype videos ever. And finally, if the Tigers win the game, which is likely — especially in Death Valley — make your way to the center of the field for the gathering at The Paw and check that off your Clemson bucket list! 

Pro Tips 

  1. Stay hydrated: As I said, it gets quite warm on game day between the South Carolina sun and the masses of people, so make sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. 

  2. Check the weather: This may seem obvious, but I have seen quite a few people caught unaware of the rain or heat. Dress cute, but also comfortable!

  3. Get plenty of sleep on Friday: You’ll want to have as much energy as possible so you can power through game day, so rest up Friday night! 

  4. DO NOT DRIVE ON TIGER BOULEVARD: Clemson is more or less a one-way-in, one-way-out town, so everyone coming to watch the Tigers in Death Valley is making their way there on Tiger Boulevard — resulting in a lot, a lot of traffic. If you need anything for Saturday’s game, be sure to get it during the week and save yourself a lot of time and a whole lot of frustration! 

  5. Get a cute clear bag: Like most stadiums, Memorial Stadium has a strict clear bag policy. Anything larger than a clutch has to be see-through, so make sure to get a stylish one! The local stores downtown have an abundance of Tiger-themed options, in my experience.

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Blake Mauro, Editor-in-Chief
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