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Gopher Football Fans Flock to Campus for Sold-Out Season Opener Against Cornhuskers

Golden Gopher football season kicks off with a sold-out game and passionate tailgating, creating an exciting atmosphere for fans.

The long-awaited Golden Gopher football season has finally arrived, and the fans couldn't be more excited. The season opener at Huntington Bank Stadium was a sold-out affair, with 50,000 fans in attendance for the highly anticipated Big Ten rivalry game against the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

One fan, David Pikus, expressed his enthusiasm for the team and the season ahead, especially considering the challenging schedule they face. "I'm really excited to see what we can do with the second-hardest schedule in the country," he said.

But before the game kicked off, fans gathered around the stadium for some classic tailgating. It was a chance for Minnesota and Nebraska fans to come together, meet new people, and reunite with family and friends. Tony Windingstad of New Brighton summed it up perfectly, saying, "It's what it's all about."

Nancy Weirick of Apple Valley shared that the kickoff game always involves lots of food, with brats and hamburgers being the go-to choices. But more importantly, it was a time to see familiar faces and enjoy the camaraderie that comes with being a fan. "It's just so nice to see everybody. It's like every year, we come," she said.

For David Pikus, tailgating was more than just a pre-game ritual. It was a passion project that he worked on during the height of the COVID pandemic. He custom-built a setup that included a bar, three TVs, a sports ticker, a flat top griddle, and tents. And when the weather gets colder, he can enclose the whole thing and turn it into an indoor bar. It's a labor of love that showcases his dedication to the team and the game-day experience.

But amidst the excitement and festivities, some parents have concerns about safety as tens of thousands of students return to campus. Aileen Johnson took matters into her own hands and started a neighborhood safety club in Dinkytown three weeks ago. The club aims to bring together students, parents, neighbors, businesses, and law enforcement to work collaboratively in ensuring a safe community.

Johnson believes that by walking together and showing care and concern for the neighborhood, they can reduce crime and make a real difference. "We believe that people are less likely to want to harm a neighborhood or come into a neighborhood where care and concern is being shown," she explained. It's a simple but powerful idea that has the potential to create a safer environment for everyone.

As for the Gophers, the party will continue through the Labor Day weekend, as classes for students don't start until Tuesday. It's a chance for the players and fans to revel in the excitement of the season opener and savor the anticipation of what lies ahead.

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