My son Jackson and I sat in the Alabama section for the Mississippi St. Bulldogs heartbreaking loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide on Saturday night. This wasn’t a planned thing, it just kinda happened. So how did it happen and what was it like? Well I’m glad you asked.
I am not a season ticket holder to Mississippi State football games. But I did sign up for the Blitz football package for my son and I at the beginning of the season. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a program where you pay one price and get guaranteed seats for the entire season, even if they aren’t the best seats. All you have to do is claim your tickets when they text you 24 hours before kickoff.
Well when you claim those tickets, you always get a host of options to choose from for upgrades or Gameday Experiences through Maroon Memories. It’s how we sat in the South Loge for the Kentucky game.
But this was the Bama game and almost all upgrades were already sold out by the time I had to confirm my tickets. But I did have one option. I’m also signed up for Reply Buy which is a service that texts you before a game when tickets become available that weren’t at one time. All you have to do is reply back with REPLY BUY and the quantity of tickets you want to buy.
When I confirmed my Blitz tickets, we were in the top part of the upper deck in an end zone corner. They were about the worst seats you could get. When I saw the Reply Buy text, it said lower level end zone corner. I didn’t know what section, but that sounded like a lot better seats, so I used it as my upgrade.
Once I purchased the tickets, I saw they were in section 25. I immediately knew this was the visitor section, and I was not just real thrilled. I either had to use these new tickets or go sit in the nose bleed section. I girded my loins, and Jackson and I headed for the Bama Section.
The Roller Coaster Ride Begins
As best I could tell, we weren’t the only Bulldog fans who used this service because in the area around row 20 where we were, there were a decent number of Mississippi State fans. Not enough Mississippi State fans to drown out the Crimson and Houndstooth, but around 15 to 20.
At first, it looked as though the Bama fans we were sitting around thought those of us in their territory would be easy pickings. If you think the ones you work with are smug away from the game, get a whole cluster of them together actually at the game. They assumed Mississippi State would be a bump in the road and they would have Bulldog fans right at their disposal to rub our noses in it.
But things got off to such a different start than what they were expecting. After the Bulldogs scored the first touchdown, all of the Bama fans got eerily quiet as I screamed my head off. It would be that way for much of the game. Sure they were always in striking distance, but there was an uneasiness in the air about the people surrounding us that they simply weren’t used to.
They started to get their smugness back in the opening drive of the 2nd half. Bama started to drive the field at will and they couldn’t be stopped. The Bama fans we sat with thought they had made the necessary adjustments and were getting ready to steam roll Mississippi State. But when the drive ended in a field goal, the uneasiness came back.
From joy to agony in the blink of an eye
For most of the game, seeing Bama fans genuinely worried was exhilarating. Every time Bama answered a State score, the Bulldogs answered right back. As the fourth quarter opened with State leading by four and inside the Bama 10 to start the quarter, a State touchdown might have sent some of them to the exits. And it was at this point that life was great.
But then it wasn’t. Mississippi State would settle for a field goal, and Alabama would tie the game up about five minutes later. After each team failed to score, Alabama would attempt a field goal with just over two minutes to go. It clanked off the upright and for the first time all night, they truly believed their beloved Tide was about to lose to Mississippi State and I was hoping to feast on Bama tears.
But State would go 3 and out on the ensuing possession. Alabama scored with 44 seconds left in regulation after a huge gain on 3rd and 15 set up a touchdown pass from Hurts on the next play. The Bulldogs were going to lose, and all the joy of seeing Bama fans fear the Bulldogs was swept away.
To their credit, none of them said anything to Jackson or myself as we were leaving. Maybe it was the fact they had truly been given a scare. Maybe they were to thrilled to care. I don’t know what it was, but my joy was taken and replaced with bitter disappointment.
Basically, just a day in the life of a Mississippi State fan.