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Mercer kicks off football seasoning with tailgating

Amanda Barrentine

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Mercer Tailgating

Mercer Marketing and Communications

Thousands of people came to see the Mercer University Bears football team come out of hibernation on Aug. 31. In preparation for the first football game in 72 years, students, families and alumni tailgated across campus on Saturday from 1 p.m. until shortly before kickoff.

Students gathered on Cruz Plaza to grill food and play as they waited to see history made. QuadWorks served up orange slushies in color-changing cups, while sororities and fraternities alike set up tents to keep out of the sun.

Tailgating stretched from Cruz Plaza into the parking lot behind Stetson and the lawn in front of the medical school.

Student Athletic Trainer Brittany Pearson said that she saw the whole community come together in honor of this event. Asked about how the football team was feeling, she said,“They’re so excited. They really want it.”

Those who were not around to see the changes on campus take place agreed that the campus has taken a giant leap forward. John Morgan, grandson of Hall of Famer Charley Morgan, stood reminiscing with Glenn Howell, whose father Orbin Howell was at the last football game that Mercer offered.

They talked about how they used to come to the Mercer campus to watch basketball games in Penfield Hall, and when they could ride their bikes on the street where Cruz Plaza now is.

Freshman Carrie Riley said the football program was a heavy influence on her decision to come to Mercer, as well the Cruz Plaza project. Her job at admissions, she said, was her chance to offer others the opportunity to experience the same love that she has for the school and the campus.

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Mercer kicks off football seasoning with tailgating