As we continue our series of the top ten moments in Mississippi State sports of 2014, let’s take a look at #7 — the debut of our new Davis Wade Stadium expansion for our first game of the season hosting the Golden Eagles of Southern Mississippi.
This stadium expansion was much needed and perfectly timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Scott Field. The $75 million very highly anticipated renovation/expansion gave college football’s second oldest on-campus football field an entirely new look. Approximately 8,000 seats, 300 bathrooms, 45 concession stands, and 20 premium seating areas were added, increasing official stadium capacity from 55,082 to 61,337. The new GI-NORMOUS high definition video board (Dawgzillatron II?) is the second largest video board in the SEC (I believe #1 true HiDef board.) and when combined with the existing video board, gives Mississippi State’s Davis Wade Stadium the most square footage of HiDef video screen in college football.
For the first game of the season, excited fans were given the opportunity to not only come out to watch a fantastic Mississippi State Bulldogs football team play some excellent football, check out the gorgeous changes/additions to the facility, and, for some, locate their commemorative brick in the new Mississippi Plaza; but to be a part of the largest crowd in history to attend a game in Scott Field’s 100 years. The game set a new Davis Wade attendance record of 61,889 (101% of official capacity).
Of course, that attendance record would fall six weeks later when a new record was set for the game against Auburn and would be beaten yet again three weeks after that against Arkansas. Thanks to the new accommodations, the current top six games ever in Davis Wade history took place in the 2014 season, and every single one of our seven home games are now in the top ten. If there was any downside at all (if you can call it that) to the additional seating, it is that our streak of consecutive home sellouts was broken when we failed to sell out against the University of Alabama – Birmingham. Even for the UAB game, however, we were at 94% capacity (55,704 – still more than the pre-expansion capacity) and recorded the #10 highest attendance in DWS history.
For the event, our boys in Maroon and coaches, of course, did their part by decimating the Golden Eagles 49-0.
The game was a white-out game, and the Mississippi State family pulled that off beautifully, as can be evidenced by the many photographs of the event.
photo credit to The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal
Photographer James Blakeway was present to memorialize the event for Scott Field’s 100 anniversary. Prints of his fantastic commemorative panoramic photo are available for purchase. Between the first and second quarters, he also took his camera down to the field to make an unbelievable, interactive 360 degree, multi gigapixel panoramic photo. I found myself (pretty much centered in this view, wearing white (duh!) with a maroon “do-rag”), and if you were there, odds are you probably can, too.
We, the members of Mississippi State’s Maroon & White Nation, are all awfully proud of this new/old home of our Gridiron Dawgs. Recruits will not be able to help being impressed with the facilities. It helped us this past season to make Mississippi State one of the most fun, most energetic, most exciting, most intimidating, and all around most incredible gameday atmospheres anywhere in college football; and that is why the unveiling of the new DWS is our #7 top moment in Mississippi State sports of 2014.