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Fans revel in pre-game atmosphere

Nov. 03, 2012 @ 11:20 PM

HUNTINGTON -- Win or lose, there is nothing like the camaraderie of tailgating before a Marshall University football game for Rodger Blake of Huntington -- even if he, like most fans, prefer a win like Saturday's 38-28 defeat of the University of Memphis Tigers.

"You get to see people you don't get to see otherwise because this is a place where everyone comes to have a good time," Blake said. "It's important to support the team and the community, and what better way to do that than to get together like this and support the Herd?"

The weather was on Blake's mind just before the game. He said he was concerned his tailgating experience was going to be a dreary one following this week's superstorm.

"Really, you couldn't ask for a better day than today for this time of year," he said. "It's a good sign for the game."

Tailgating is a decades-long tradition for Blake and his family and friends, like for so many college football fans, including John and Jeanne Lewis of Huntington, who said they have been tailgating before Marshall football games for more than 30 years.

Jeanne Lewis said it's just a plain old good time.

"It's really the thing to do if you're going to support your team," she said. "There is nothing like the excitement, the good food, the good friends and cheering on the Herd in person."

That cheering could have been the determining factor in putting Marshall at .500 for the season, improving to 4-4 overall and 3-2 in Conference USA, before traveling to UAB next week.

It definitely makes the difference for Tony Spurlock of Huntington who said there is nothing like the real deal when it comes to watching Marshall football.

"You gotta let your team see your support," he said. "Plus, the excitement of the game -- you can't match that excitement from home, and your team can't hear you from there."