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30 Reasons for 30 Days - Day 5: Because of the Student Section

NCAA Football: Penn State at Rutgers Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Since August 5, I have been posting a daily reason why it is great to be a fan of Rutgers football. There are a lot more than thirty, but I picked my thirty reasons, and hope you have liked them.

For us older fans (those of us who have gray at the temples or more) remember not that long ago when the students’ section in the stadium was the bottom of the U in the stadium. Obviously, that was before the expansion in 2009. Since that time, the addition has served as the student section in High Point Solutions Stadium.

There is an energy to the stadium when the student section is filled and focused. It FEELS very different when the students aren’t there in large numbers. Games that take place around school holidays are always tough (for example, in 2015 the game against Maryland was the Saturday after Thanksgiving) because students are home that weekend, and there is a noticeable difference in the energy and excitement.

Since joining the Big Ten in 2014, there are a lot more noon-time games. I have heard from many fans that lament those games in part because the students usually are not there at kickoff. I get that, I was 21 once. It feels like it was when dinosaurs ruled the earth, but contrary to popular opinion in my family, I really WAS 21 once! Getting up to be in the stadium in your seat at noon is a challenge for a typical college student, but we all need you there! You make a huge difference!!!

Fresno State Bulldogs v Rutgers Scarlet Knights Photo by Jarrett Baker/Getty Images

It is also important for the alums to see the students there are caring, too. They remember that excitement as well, and live vicariously through the students. Each game, watching the students starting off the “R—-U” chant fills us old-timers with a great deal of satisfaction, knowing the feeling of being a student in the stands on those days, hanging out with your buddies, and having a great time cheering on the Scarlet Knights.

NCAA Football: Penn State at Rutgers Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

And of course, this is the 21st Century, so the student fans have a social media presence as well. Here’s the Twitter account of the Riot Squad:

So it looks like the Riot Squad boys are ready for the new era.

Without the students’ section filled, it just isn’t as good a game-day experience. While some may grumble about the yelling and the craziness, we also know that 99% of it is merely good fun and kids enjoying the ambiance of college football at its best. The video below posted on You Tube by Mike Convente gives a great feel of being in the student section back in 2013 with the comeback win against Arkansas.

That’s right, the students and the student section is just another reason why it really is great to be a Rutgers football fan!