UMass football preparing for this weekend’s home opener
AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- This weekend is the long-awaited home opener for the UMass Amherst football team and thousands are expected to fill McGuirk Alumni Stadium to cheer on their Minutemen.
Crews have been working around the clock for the last couple of weeks to make sure the stadium is ready for football. On Saturday, it will be game on as the Minutemen plays its home opener against the Miami (OH) Redhawks, a team UMass has not faced since 2015.
“(I’m looking forward to) that home feeling, knowing that the people in the stands that are cheering have your back. They want to see you succeed rather than cheering when the other team makes a big play. We get that momentum,” said UMass Minutemen tight end Gino Campiotti.
UMass began the season by ending its 24-game road losing streak with a win at New Mexico State, which marked their first season opening win on the road in 50 years. Despite getting blown out by Auburn last weekend, Campiotti told Western Mass News he likes where the team stands.
“We bring energy. We fly around. It’s obvious and everyone in the locker room loves football and wants to do everything it takes for one another and I think that energy is one thing that you can definitely expect out of us,” Campiotti added.
More than 10,000 people are expected to watch the action, including students who will be at their first college football game. UMass Assistant Athletic Director of Marketing, Sales, and Fan Experience Shanlea Kernen said they can expect to have fun.
“We’re super excited to have our fans back and super excited to have our students here,” Kernen said. “We have rally towels for the first 500 students…We’ve got a student barbecue inside the stadium and you can use your dining dollars or any meal plan to pay for that.”
It will also be youth day, which means kids currently playing youth football will be treated to some nice promotions and attractions.
“We have a great kids zone going on outside the stadium pregame where kids can come…bounce houses, face painting, poster making,” Kernen added. “If you wear your youth jersey, we have mini footballs to give out.”
With UMass hunting for its first winning season in 13 years, Campiotti hopes the fan base brings lots more momentum.
“We got our first win last year at home and it was just an amazing experience. It was loud, it was fun, and we need more of that to get us going,” Campiotti said.
Campiotti and the rest of the Minutemen will take on the Redhawks of Miami (OH) at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
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