The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Game hype drives fans to Oklahoma

Dan Brombach | Friday, October 26, 2012

Distance, steep ticket prices and a potentially hostile environment were not enough to keep some devoted fans from planning a trip to Norman this Saturday to witness a top-10 football clash between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Junior Peter Roemholdt said he is willing to endure the 30-hour roundtrip drive from South Bend in order to experience the renowned atmosphere at Oklahoma’s Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium.

“The atmosphere is going to be electric,” Roehmholdt said. “I bet it’s going to be extremely loud, and especially if it’s a close game, it should be quite the experience.”

Junior John Garry, who is traveling as part of the Notre Dame Marching Band, said he also is excited to support the team and be there for one of the most important games since the 2005 Notre Dame-USC showdown. Despite having to leave on Thursday and drive through the night, Garry said being a part of this game is still more than worth it.

“It’s going to be rowdy, it’s going to be crazy,” Garry said. “[ESPN’s] ‘College Gameday’ will be there, so take what happened on our campus and multiply it. It should be a good day to be a college football fan.”

Roehmholdt said he is also looking forward to getting a taste of the Oklahoma tailgating culture before the game.

“The tailgating will be great,” Roehmholdt said. “A lot of these big schools pride themselves on their tailgates and pregame parties almost more than being at the game itself.”

Garry said band members won’t have much time for activities before the game, occupied by a pep rally and with preparation for their halftime performance.

“Basically we’re just there to be at the game,” Garry said. “Performing will be fun. Oklahoma fans are some of the rowdiest in the nation, so it will be great to get out there and be on the field for that.”

Despite being behind enemy lines as a Notre Dame supporter, Roehmholdt said he is not concerned about having to deal with potentially abusive or belligerent Oklahoma fans.

“It’s an 8:00 [p.m.] game, people will have been tailgating for a while so I’m sure there will be some rowdy individuals, but it will be fine,” Roehmholdt said. “I can handle a few ‘Notre Dame sucks.'”

Garry said he expects the crowd environment to be intense due to the implications of the game, yet not as hostile as the atmosphere of Michigan.

“The Notre Dame-Oklahoma rivalry isn’t quite as heated as other rivalries, and Sooner fans are known for being incredibly courteous outside the stadium,” Garry said. “Once you get inside the stadium, it will be a different story.

Overall, Roehmholdt said he anticipates the trip will be one of the highlights of his time at Notre Dame.

“At the end of the day you’re not going to remember the homework and the tests, you’re going to remember the experiences you had at Oklahoma for the biggest game in Notre Dame history for a long time,” Roehmholdt said.

Contact Dan Brombach at dbrombac@nd.edu