HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — A few thousand Marshall University football fans are expected to be in attendance at Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday when the Thundering Herd and Fighting Irish meet for the first time on the gridiron.
It’s a game, event and experience that many of those fans have looked forward to since the game was announced in 2019. Notre Dame, ranked No. 8 in the country, is one of the most iconic college football programs in the country and has one of the largest fanbases.
Taylor Hickman, the Director of Events for Big Green Scholarship Foundation was on her way to South Bend, Indiana from Huntington on Thursday and told MetroNews she expects several hundred Marshall fans at her organization’s tailgate Saturday. Hickman said there were around 4,000 tickets sold for the game through Marshall.
“Most people have never been there before,” Hickman said of Notre Dame being a bucket list item for fans. “They are excited to see the campus, the tradition of Notre Dame, the so many things it has to offer. We have about 600 people coming to our tailgate.”
The Big Green tailgate is Saturday from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. at 1340 South Bend Ave. South Bend, Indiana. It is a blended tailgate of Marshall and Notre Dame fans put on by Gameday Your Way., Hickman noted.
Tickets were purchased for $75 and included an all-you-can-eat premium BBQ buffet, all-you-can-drink beer, seltzers and liquor. It also includes games, big screen televisions and music. Hickman said fans were calling up to game week to try and make it to the tailgate.
The Big Green is also hosting events Friday night in the area including at the BIG Bar at the Hyatt Regency Chicago from 6 to 8 p.m. CST, and in South Bend at Century Center from 8 to 10 p.m. EST.
Bars and restaurants, both locally and Marshall based nationally, are gearing up to broadcast the game, which is scheduled to kick at 2:30 p.m. on the network NBC.
The Marshall University Alumni Association noted alumni watch parties: Boston, MA, at Casey’s; Charleston, SC, at Charleston Sports Pub; Raleigh/Durham, NC, at Mellow Mushroom in Raleigh; Tampa Bay, FL, at Wings Etc.
“Marshall is looking forward to that,” Hickman said of national exposure.
“I know a lot of players are excited to get this exposure for themselves as well. Our brand is out there for everyone to see on network television, which we don’t see all the time.”
The Herald Dispatch in Huntington put together a ‘Herd fans’ guide to a weekend in South Bend’ which includes a list of items to do on Friday and Sunday between gameday. A football weekend event list was also published by Notre Dame this week.
As of Thursday, Marshall (1-0) is around a three-touchdown underdog in the game. Hickman said anything is possible Saturday and hopes for the upset.
“You never know what can happen these days,” she said.