What a 2012 Ohio University football game looks like to someone who watched OU lose 5-0 to Utah State in 1994

I’ve been two Ohio University football games in 2012. I took photos to document how the game-day experience has changed since the 1990s.

Game day Ohio versus Norfolk State

I was a freshman at Ohio University in 1994, a season during which the Ohio University football team went winless. The first OU game I attended was a 5-0 loss to Utah State. True story: I got my ticket for free by buying a hamburger at Wendy’s on Court Street. Like idiots geniuses,  my friends and I continued to attend Ohio University football games all four years, and we were rewarded my senior year with an 8-3 team led by head coach Jim Grobe.

While I was a student, OU went a sad 18-28-1 in football (8-12-1 at home.) (The big joke was we were a drinking school with a football problem.) We snapped a 12-game losing streak at home against Illinois State my sophomore year. I stormed the field after the game as students tore down the goalpost, probably out of irony. The athletic department made a very big deal out of warning students not to do it again, and we readily obeyed, as OU didn’t win another home game for almost a year.

This semester I am living in Athens with my wife. More on that here and here. I’ve been to two home games this season, most recently against Norfolk State. I took a lot of photos to document the many ways the game-day experience has changed since the 1990s.

Here we go…

In 1994 university parking lots during football games were barren winterscapes.

In 2012, there are cars entering (as opposed to quickly leaving) Athens on football Saturdays.

Cars entering parking lot near Peden Stadium

In 1994 you didn’t need these because the university was not worried about where tens of thousands of people were not parking their cars.

Game day parking OU football

Times change. In the 1990s the athletic department didn’t mind if you brought umbrellas or even your whole patio set inside Peden Stadium.

No umbrellas allowed inside Peden Stadium sign

Opponent-specific shirts of opponents students had never heard of before six days ago are a sign your program is on the rise.

Ohio University football fan

This is what Tailgate Park looked like when we used to drive my friend Jim’s Celebrity to Peden Stadium on game day. “First ones here!” (Thanks for the photo, Jim.)

Now that exact same field pictured above is filled with people.

Ohio fans grill before the Norfolk State game

This is pretty much the spot where, for years, we tailgated home games with Keystone Ice and JTMs, which may or may not have been comprised of an actual meat substance. Securing that same spot every week was not an issue.

Norfolk State Ohio University pre-game

I don’t remember there being portable toilets when we first tailgated. I think we all went behind this tree.

Of course, now they have these things, which are nicer than my apartment.

When my friends Ron and Sarah brought their kids to tailgate games after we graduated, they tossed them in the back of the car with a package of Saltines and half-a-pack of smokes.

Stay in there, kids

Now kids have these things to jump around and accidentally pee in.

Kids bounce around while tailgating for an Ohio University football game

Our mascot has done two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, plus some stuff in Libya he’s not allowed to talk about, so not all of the changes have been pleasant.

No, those seats aren’t painted to look like people!  Those are actual fans. Credit goes to head coach Frank Solich for building a winning program. This is from the New Mexico State game a few weeks ago.

Packed house at Peden Stadium

One thing has not changed. When I was at OU, the Marching 110 got freaky to “New Age Girl” by Deadeye Dick. (If someone has video, I will post it. Here is the original.)

And here is the Marching 110 taking a viral video sensation from YouTube and going full-on Gangnam Style at halftime of the Norfolk State game. The dance in the middle of the song makes it. (You know it’s good when the professional snarkers over at Deadspin like it.)

Still the most exciting band in the land.

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Author: Joe Donatelli

Joe Donatelli is a writer in Los Angeles. He publishes The Humor Columnist.

  • Kadugan_28

    As a native of Athens County, I only missed a handful of OU games during the 90s, and was at all of the home games for the 94 season.  Some of the fond memories from the decade of being dominated
    1) The fight between the Alumni 110 and the Miami Football Coaching staff in ’92 (youtube it) 
    2) My dad and I counting 43 fans on the student side at the start of the 4th quarter in ’93 against Bowling Green
    3) Having the person ahead of us and behind us in line in Krogers give us their free tickets to the ’90 Central Michigan game
    4) My best friend taking the wind streamer from the top of the goalpost after the winless streak was broken against Illinois State
    5) The utter disappointment of preparing to charge the field the next game (two game win streak, that goalpost has to come down!) only to see Kent State tie the game on a last second field goal (game ended in a tie)   

  • We were at many of the same games, including the Illinois State triumph. These are great memories, especially the band one.

  • Amandamackie

    Fantastic, I too was a freshman in 1994 and stormed the field to tear down the goal post…even saw Dead Eye Dick perform at the Nick that year…Thanks for the trip down memory lane…and these updates! I gotta get back to Athens soon, it’s been a long time! Have loved being able to watch a few televised OU games even here in Minnesota!

  • Kadugan_28

    We were on the pressbox side of the field during the ’92 Miami game.  When Miami started out onto the field with the 110 still performing my dad told me that it would get interesting…it did!

  • I think everyone on campus now says they tore down that goalpost, ha ha. 

  • I’d love to hear the whole story. Can you email me everything you remember from that day to contactjoed (at) gmail (dot) com? I’m going to put together a blog post along with the video. Thanks!

  • I think *everyone* who went to OU during the 90s tore down those goalposts.