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Fulfilling game, empty stands for ODU-NSU

NORFOLK

As expected, it was 59 degrees under a cloudless autumn sky when Old Dominion and Norfolk State kicked off Saturday afternoon at Dick Price Stadium.

The forecast was spot-on. The anticipated turnout was not.

Just 11,308 gathered in the 30,000-seat venue as ODU survived for a 27-24 win over its crosstown rival. The relatively sparse crowd, much like the thin final margin, was a surprise by any measure.

Reasoning that NSU's fan base tends to buy walk-up tickets rather than purchase in advance, athletic director Marty Miller said in the days leading up to the game that good weather likely would equal a packed house.

He got one, but not the other.

"I'm not disappointed in the crowd, although I hoped we'd have closer to 20,000," Miller said through a school spokesman after the game, declining to speculate as to why the showing was barely half that size. "I thought it was a decent turnout."

The last time the teams met, in the 2011 FCS playoffs at ODU, they quickly sold out then-19,818-seat Foreman Field.

On Saturday, there were premium seats galore. A section of reserved seating behind ODU's sideline was sparsely populated, and an unofficial count in the second quarter found about 50 fans dotting the seats behind the east end zone.

In four games this season, the Spartans have drawn an average of 7,410 fans. Their highest total before Saturday - a day on which they saw their record fall to 2-6 - came a week earlier, when a loss to Hampton drew 8,525.

Linebacker Marcell Coke said NSU needs to put a better product on the field to fill the stadium.

"For the most part, we've gotten used to not having a big crowd," Coke said. "There's no way around it: We've been struggling. Nobody wants to come see a loser."

Fans of the Monarchs, who improved to 5-3, didn't exactly make the 4-mile trip in droves. Despite selling out all 33 home games in the program's 41?2 seasons, ODU returned about 300 of its allotted 2,000 tickets.

About 5,000 fans traveled to ODU's opener at East Carolina, and about 2,000 went to Maryland on Sept. 7.

Athletic director Wood Selig said this week he anticipates taking as many as 5,000 to North Carolina on Nov. 23.

Add those trips to six ODU home games this season - including four in a row recently - and the tailgating tab skyrockets.

NSU, which charges $25 for reserved seating for most home games, raised the price to $35 for the ODU game and this Saturday's homecoming contest against Florida A&M.

"It's just whether or not the fans want to come see it," said ODU coach Bobby Wilder, who wouldn't allow his players to speak about the crowd. "I understand there was a significant cost involved to come see this football game. I certainly respect, whether it's when we play at home or when we travel, an expense to go see a football game. We're just appreciative of all those fans that were behind us on our sideline, because it got pretty loud."

There was a crescendo at the end. ODU's Jarod Brown kicked a 24-yard field goal to break a tie as time expired, a play probably worth the price of admission to many Monarchs fans.

It capped a thriller that was closer than most predicted.

"The ones that didn't come missed a good game," Spartans coach Pete Adrian said.

David Hall, 757-446-2367, david.hall@pilotonline.com

Posted to: College Football Norfolk NSU Football ODU Football Sports

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Comment deleted

Comment removed for rules violation. Reason: Racial, ethnic, group attack

ODU vs NSU

Seems very odd to me that the ODU fans did not fill up the place. Not like it was far away. Had the game been at Foreman it surely would have been a sell out. On paper before the season began, it looked like a home game for the Monarchs.

Why do you Suppose?

What's the real reason that ODUers stayed away?

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Comment removed for rules violation. Reason: Racial, ethnic, group attack

It's ODU's responsibility to fill your stands?

It seems odd to me that NSU fans don't attend their own games. Come on Spartans, support your team, even in the lean times. Beholding the green and gold from the bleachers is way more productive than ranting about it from the keyboard. (And you guys should really band together and force down your ticket prices. Are those prices in line with other MEAC schools?)

The Grand Experiment.

An away game less than five miles from campus and hardly any ODU fans show up. Just more proof that the Grand Experiment on Hampton Boulevard is going to fail. In about three years, ODU will be playing to a half filled stadium at home with apathy abounding.

As posted before

Many reasons have been posted on various pilot threads and all seems to have some validity, combining them all, you get NSUs highest attended game of the season but way lower than it should have been considering proximity.

It will be sold out in 2015 against NSU(in a new stadium) as will all ODU's games 5 years from now. It is about game day atmosphere; monarch march, Koffman Mall experience, tons of tailgating, lots of easy access parking,757 recruits, an explosive offense that doesn't look to change with incoming phenom Shuler Bentley (and existing QBs in Washington and Red-shirted McCarley)and just a simple ravenous appetite for football at ODU that has been 30 yrs in the making.

A fourth year season ticket looking for 20 more.

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Comment removed for rules violation. Reason: Racial, ethnic, group attack

Glad the NSU money grab

Glad the NSU money grab failed.

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Comment removed for rules violation. Reason: Personal attack, name calling

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Comment removed for rules violation. Reason: Personal attack, name calling

ODU/NSU FOOTBALL GAME, why i no showed

I attended NSU For a short bit in the 70's and have a kid who graduated from ODU. That being said, i've even helped several players and their parents pick ODU as a then retired high school asst. coach.I did this with no perks offered just thought it was the best fit for the kids ,(which has proven to be as they both are starters)so no tickets given and it always looks like no tickets available for home games.I would like to attend at least one or two games before those players graduate.The shame of it is i could actually walk from my place to the stadium barring any worries about parking at ODU.My big plan was to attend this game at NSU,but here lies the conflict the same high school program those players came from was involved in the biggest most meaning

Why low attendance

ODU fans do not want to go to a ballgame in an area of town where the chances of being robbed, a victim of theft, panhandled, murdered, assaulted, etc. increases substantially.

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Comment removed for rules violation. Reason: Personal attack, name calling

Where?

Sounds as though you just described the area in and around ODU. There is comparatively little crime around NSU. Your statement suggests ignorance or some predisposed stereotypical bias!

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