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Purdue win lacks intensity

Kyle Witzigman | Monday, September 16, 2013

Many Notre Dame students followed the football team south to West Lafayette on Saturday to watch the Irish defeat the Purdue Boilermakers 31-24. Despite the win, students said they were bothered by the “intrusive” Jumbotron in the Boilermaker’s stadium.
Caitlin Crommett, a junior entrepreneurship and film, theatre, and television double major, said she headed to Purdue on Friday to visit friends at Purdue and then enjoy game day.
 “I felt [game day] was a pretty enjoyable experience in the stadium,” she said. “We didn’t have any negative reactions to us being in the stadium.  We weren’t heckled.  Before we went inside, we joined a Purdue tailgating party.”
Crommett said she prefers the Notre Dame game day experience to the Purdue atmosphere. She said Purdue misused of the jumbotron, which she felt created a divide in the crowd.
“It detracted people from what was going on the field,” Crommett said.  “I like how at Notre Dame people at our games are focused on what’s on the field, and people aren’t turned around watching a screen while the other half watch what’s in front of them.”
Senior Blake Weaver said he has traveled to away games throughout his four years at Notre Dame as a member of the Band of the Fighting Irish. He said watching the game at Purdue made him appreciate Notre Dame’s lack of a Jumbotron.
“The consistent interviews and corny trivia [on the Jumbotron] throughout the game were distractions and missed opportunities for the band to get to play since we had to listen to the announcer talk about advertisements or random Purdue facts,” he said.
Weaver, who traveled to Michigan last week with the band, said Purdue’s Jumbotron is not what makes the game day experience less enjoyable than Notre Dame home games, but rather that Purdue “utilized their Jumbotron incorrectly.”
“During the downtime for the game, they should incorporate more of their cheerleaders and band instead of watching commercials and throwing footballs through a giant blowup donut on the field.  I felt like I was at a baseball game with those fan participatory games,” he said.
The Notre Dame versus Michigan game last weekend exhibited a more intense rivalry, Weaver said.
The atmosphere is so much more intense [in Ann Arbor],” he said. “It’s more of a true football game where both teams are accomplished and revered programs.”
Sophomore Daniel Strickland attended both the Michigan and Purdue games.  He said he also thought Purdue’s game-day atmosphere was comparatively more calm than Michigan’s.  
“They don’t have the same intensity as Notre Dame or Michigan would have. We sat most of the time except for the big plays. It was more comfortable, but it was a testament to the lack of intensity,” Strickland said.
Strickland also said the Jumbotron negatively impacted his game-day experience.
“During the game, I liked being able to see the Jumbotron and the game, but when the game wasn’t going, the Jumbotron could’ve been used in better ways to pump up the crowd,” he said.
Strickland said he preferred the way the Jumbotron was used at Michigan, which got fans way more into the game than at Purdue.  
“[Purdue] needs to show more highlights and clips to pump up the crowd,” he said.
Strickland said Purdue’s mismanaged Jumbotron showed him the benefit of Notre Dame’s Jumbotron-less stadium.
“If Notre Dame used a Jumbotron like Purdue did, then I’m fine with Notre Dame not having one,” he said.
Sophomore Michael Brown visited Purdue to meet up with a friend attending college there.
 “She showed me their fanfare around campus, like the clapping circle. I also got a photo with the Neil Armstrong statue on campus,” Brown said.
Brown said he noticed a mix of spirited and hopeless Purdue fans.
“At 4 p.m. when we were walking around campus, we heard from five different Purdue fans that Notre Dame was going to kill them.  Around 7:30 when we walked to the stadium, we only heard “Notre Dame, go home, we’re going to kill you!  I thought it was funny being in an enemy’s territory,” he said.
Brown said Purdue used the Jumbotron in a cheesy way.
“The intro of the team to the field was cool. But mostly, they did cheesy things that kept interest,” he said. “Asking about Bruce Willis movies and comparing them to the team were useless. They did a lot of stuff with the Jumbotron that I expect bad teams to do. Trust me, I’m a Pirates fan.”
Brown said in comparison with the Notre Dame game-day experience, students at Purdue were less enthralled with the game.
“It seemed like there were a bunch of people who didn’t care,” he said. “Some students obviously cared, but a decent proportion just didn’t go and didn’t care. They have a good team and there should be more people on campus who back them. I don’t see that here at Notre Dame. We’re extremely unified.”