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Column: First Clemson night game as a student

Football game days at Clemson are always special. 

However, there’s something different when the lights come on in Death Valley on a Saturday night. Night games at Clemson allow you to fully experience a complete game day atmosphere. 

It’s so amazing to walk around Clemson on game day and see the tents, the satellites with other college football games, the great food and fellowship. Crowds can also be seen going downtown to all the stores such as the Tiger Sports Shop. Simply put, there’s a lot to do before the game.

Two and a half hours before kickoff, the players and coaches depart from the team hotel dressed in suits and ties to greet fans at Tiger Walk in front of the Oculus on their way into the locker room. The band plays Tiger Rag, and there’s plenty of cheering and cadence counts to go around. 

For the Auburn game, students were already lined up before gates opened at 5 p.m. for the 7 p.m. kickoff. If this was your first ever night game as a Clemson student, you could sense the energy and excitement as the lower bowl quickly filled up. It’s easy to see why student tickets can be difficult to obtain because everyone on this campus loves Tiger football and, there aren’t enough tickets for every Clemson student.

It’s game time when the team loads the bus at the West End Zone and heads around the stadium to the Hill. Death Valley is alive, especially when the lights come on. It’s amazing to witness all the orange balloons come out and to see the fireworks but it doesn’t stop there. Students get loud and stay loud throughout the game, from the opening kickoff to celebrating touchdowns and being loud on defense. 

One of the things that’s really special to see at night games is actually something that’s fairly new. At the end of the third quarter, everyone gets out their phones and it literally “lights up” the stadium. The experience is amazing. After every home football game, the crowd rushes the field and gathers at the Paw to sing the Alma Mater and take pictures, epitomizing what the Clemson Family is. 

If you’ve never had the opportunity to attend night games at Clemson, it should be on your bucket list. It’s something that you will never forget.

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