By: Caroline Otto, Jayne Rush, Katie Zaloom, Lauren Lucas, & Meghan Dulaney
The University of Tennessee Volunteers will participate in new and old traditions at Saturday’s sold-out game against the Ole Miss Rebels.
According to Rocky Top Talk, Neyland Stadium has sold out for the first time since 2017 with 102,455 fans expected for the 6:30 pm. kickoff.
Tennessee fans will create a sea of checkered orange and white throughout the stadium for the sixth time ever.
Tyler Malone, a University of Tennessee senior, said the famous checkerboard has been around the Knoxville campus since the opening. Tennessee fans view the checkered pattern in the end zone as staple for their football program.
“Checkering the stadium has only been done five times and has not been done since 2016,” Malone said. “It is a great way for Tennessee fans to show their support and pride for our team.”
Ole Miss fans can look forward to Tennessee’s traditions and get the same sense of community and team spirit as you would in the Grove.
Audrey Nicholls, former Ole Miss student who transferred to Tennessee, said tailgating in Oxford differs from tailgating in Knoxville.
“Ole Miss tailgating was mainly in one place: the Grove,” Nicholls said. “Tennessee tailgating has a bunch of different places you can go to and it’s spread out more. At either school, there is no shortage of team spirit.”
In Knoxville fans from both teams will be tailgating in more than one place. Some Tennessee fans even sail the Tennessee River for the tailgate, a tradition known as sailgating.
Every game in Knoxville this season, Toyota puts on a free tailgate that includes a feature artist, food trucks and fun activities.
Outside Gate 9 every game day, food and drinks are served at Truly’s Tailgate. Truly’s will be open four hours prior to the game and stay open until the end of the third quarter.
Those inside the stadium will get new fan experiences such as LED lights, fireworks and former Tennessee quarterback Sterling Henton as an in-game DJ to pump up the crowd.
“The DJ helps keep the crowd excited and engaged whenever there’s a timeout, injury, etc,” Nicholls said. “The fireworks are also a fun way to celebrate scoring a touchdown and adds to the excitement.”
The game will air on the SEC network.