The crowd for WVU vs. ISU may have been the smallest Milan Puskar Stadium has hosted this season, but you would never know it if you closed your eyes and listened this past Saturday.
The official attendance was listed at 45,613, but near the end of the game, it definitely sounded like a packed house.
And that’s exactly what the Mountaineers needed to pull off the upset.
“I thought our crowd was huge on 3rd downs and 4th downs. And then at the end of the game — that’s special,” head coach Neal Brown said to open his postgame press conference after the 38-31 victory over the Cyclones. “If they could bottle that feeling you have when you are singing Country Roads, which I think is the best tradition in college football, and then celebrating with those guys in the locker room…If they could bottle that and sell it, it would be priceless. It really would. All the work that goes into it, it makes it worth it.”
The highest attendance so far this season was 60,022 vs. Virginia Tech. The Texas Tech game saw 54,090 fans, while 50,911 came out for the home opener against Long Island. When Brown took the podium on Tuesday to recap that top-25 victory and then look ahead to Oklahoma State, he made sure to reiterate just how appreciative he was of the atmosphere.
“It wasn’t a sell-out by any means on Saturday, and there were a lot of excuses to not come to the game — the weather wasn’t great, our record was bad, whatever. But we had 45,000 who showed up, and what a tremendous atmosphere at the end of the game. It was extremely loud. I don’t know how long that ‘Let’s Go Mountaineers’ cheer went, but it went for a really long time,” Brown said. “It was difficult to even hear on our headsets during that last sequence we were on defense. Credit to the people that came. If you didn’t, you missed out.”
That moment Brown described was the definition of loud and proud. As the head coach said during an exclusive interview for The Neal Brown Show: “the ones who decided to brave the weather and believe in this team, they were extremely loud and had a huge outcome on the game.”
The Mountaineers welcome their second-straight ranked opponent this Saturday, and there’s plenty to look forward to this weekend for those who will be in attendance. It’s Military Appreciation Day, and a flyover will take place before the team runs out of the tunnel. The flyover will begin at 3:25 p.m. All current WVU student veterans and all veterans in attendance will be honored during the second quarter.
Mountaineer legend Major Harris will have his No. 9 jersey retired during the game as well. He will become the fifth Mountaineer in program history to earn the honor. Linebacker Darryl Talley’s No. 90 was retired last month. The on-field presentation and the reveal of Major Harris’ number on the terrace of Milan Puskar Stadium will take place at the end of the first quarter.
“First, I hope everyone comes out to show their support and respect for what Major Harris did here. My personal introduction to Mountaineer football was Major Harris,” Brown said. “I hope our fans come out and support him and what he’s meant to this program, University and state.”
As for this current team, the Mountaineers are hoping a dash of Milan Magic will come in handy again against the Cowboys.
“This is a huge game for us,” Brown. “We are sitting at 4-4. The No. 11 team in the country is coming in. It’s been a long time since we’ve had back-to-back nationally-ranked wins and it’s the opportunity to do it at home. The weather is going to be great. I hope our fans show up and show out. I hope they are loud and decide to be a factor in the game.”