Vol Fans Rave Stadium Improvements and Victory

By: Mike McCarthy
By: Mike McCarthy

Knoxville (WVLT) -- What a difference a week makes.

After a heartbreaking loss to Cal last Saturday, fans of the Big Orange spent all day celebrating the team's 39-19 win over Southern Miss.

The team isn't the only thing to cheer for.

For many Vol fans, the new changes to Neyland Stadium were also worthy of a standing ovation.

"You see the team come out on the field and it kind of sends chills down your spine," explained Mike Herdon, who was in attendance to cheer on the Volunteers.

But for the first half of the home opener against the Eagles Herdon's chills were turned into fear.

"I was terrified," he said. "I thought Southern Miss was going to come out and run it down our throat."

He wasn't alone.

"At times it was hard to watch," said fan Jason Graham.

"This just can't happen again," thought Dustin Parker

The fears went unrealized as coming off such a tough loss, the Vols proved they wanted the W.

"But then the second half started and improved and started getting louder, and then then we took the lead and just kept pouring it on," Parker said. "It's always a good week when Tennessee wins,"

Vol fans also cheered for Neyland Stadium's new, state-of-the-art LCD ribbon boards.

"I thought the resolution was really sharp," Graham said. "They really did a good job putting those up."

"It just made the stadium look so much newer and high tech," Parker said.

The game also marked the first time fans couldn't smoke on the ramps at Gates 10 and 21.

From now on, Neyland Stadium is smoke-free.

Dustin Parker didn't notice much of a difference

But for Jason Graham, it was like night and day.

"Being asthmatic, I thought it was great, I didn't have to put up with it," Graham said.

All the improvements to the stadium still couldn't outshine the victory, and the way UT tackled Southern Miss gives fans like Herdon hope for next week.

"I think we have a good chance to come out and surprise some people," he said.

T-minus five days to find out.

Fans will have to put on their waders to see next week's game.

The Vols travel to Gainesville to take on Florida in the the Swamp.

You can watch that game on WVLT-TV, your flagship station for the Vol Network.


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