STARKVILLE – When Mississippi State takes the field at 6:30 p.m. Saturday against Southern Miss to open the 2014 season, it will do so in front of one of the largest crowds ever to witness a college football game in Mississippi.
The Bulldogs cut the ribbon on a $75 million renovation to Davis Wade Stadium which expands the capacity to 61,337. Tickets for the game are already exhausted – MSU’s 31st consecutive home sellout.
“It’s going to be amazing going from a couple hundred people in the end zone to several thousand,” said MSU defensive end Ryan Brown. “Adding another scoreboard monitor is crazy. It’s going to be very, very loud and exciting for us to play in.”
The expansion began two years ago, adding 8,815 additional seats including 1,739 premium seats in the newly bowled-in north end zone. The project also added 308 restroom fixtures, 46 new concession stand registers, 22 suites and seven elevators.
MSU also remodeled its west side concourse added a second high-definition video board. Davis Wade Stadium now boasts the largest video boards in college football totaling a combined 14,240 square feet.
Hitting their marks
“In so many ways we made the experience better,” said MSU director of athletics Scott Stricklin. “We have gates that give you a real sense of arrival whereas in the past they were just tucked up underneath the stadium.
“We added a bunch of aesthetics like all the bricks and accents that really dress up this huge structure that sits in the middle of campus and almost makes it blend in.Those were all goals and I think we were able to hit our marks on just about every one of them.”
Saturday will also mark the start of the 100th year at Scott Field. Built in 1914, the Bulldogs home venue is the second oldest FBS stadium behind Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium, which was built one year prior.
MSU renews its in-state rivalry with Southern Miss after a 24 year hiatus. The two Magnolia State programs last met in 1990 when the Bulldogs won a 13-10 in Starkville.
“It’s going to be really exciting for us to get this going, get this season kicked off and play such a fun opponent in such a great rivalry game,” said MSU coach Dan Mullen. “I mean it’s something special to start a season with a rivalry game like this.”