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Orgeron: "We’re worried about getting everything right with our without fans”

Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 5:42 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Football season on LSU’s campus, which starts less than a month before Halloween, will feel like a horror movie to fans in 2020.

Smells of jambalaya, boudin, and barbeque will not fill the air around Tiger Stadium.

There will not be the usual sea of purple and gold in the quad and the parade grounds. Chants of “Geaux Tigers” will not echo through the leaves of the campus' historic oak trees.

The roar of fans on Victory Hill waiting to catch a glimpse of their favorite Tigers will be absent as well, along with the iconic four notes from the Golden Band from Tigerland.

Those time-honored LSU gameday traditions will not happen this season in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, university officials said.

University officials announced on Wednesday, Sept. 9 tailgating would not be allowed on campus during the 2020 college football season, and attendance for football games in Tiger Stadium would be limited to 25% of its capacity.

LSU will kick off the 2020 season against Mississippi State in Tiger Stadium at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26. The game will be televised on WAFB-TV.

The Tigers are 75-35-3 in the all-time series against Mississippi State and hold a 49-19-1 advantage when playing in Baton Rouge.

The Bulldogs are coming off a 6-7 record in 2019 and have a new leader in former Washington State head coach Mike Leach.

Tiger Stadium, known as “Death Valley,” has long-been a haunted house, of sorts, for opposing teams.

The crowd noise that usually makes Death Valley one of the toughest venues in college football will have to come from about 25,000 fans instead of 100,000. Even though the lucky fans who are able to attend will be required to wear masks, they’ll have plenty to cheer about.

WHAT LSU FANS WILL BE CHEERING FOR:

LSU is defending its fourth national title in school history, which it earned just a week before the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Redshirt junior Myles Brennan will replace Heisman Trophy-winner Joe Burrow at quarterback in his first career start on Saturday. Brennan has thrown for 600 yards and two touchdowns in limited action with LSU over the last three seasons.

Brennan will have plenty of weapons at his disposal against the Bulldogs with LSU’s top returning wide receiver, Terrace Marshall Jr., who caught 46 passes for 671 yards and 13 touchdowns. He will also likely throw to Gatorade National Player of the Year tight end Arik Gilbert.

College football is finally here! In the weeks and months leading up to September, it was unclear if college football would even be played in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the NCAA’s biggest conferences, such as the BIG 10 and PAC 12, announced in mid-summer they would not be playing football in 2020. The BIG 10 later announced it would start in October. Some conferences, such as the SWAC, which Southern University plays in, delayed the start of the 2020 football season until 2021.

It’s good to get out of the house! Many Louisiana residents have been spending more time at home over the last six months due to COVID-19, even if they still physically go to work or school. The normal places where people congregate regularly, such as restaurants, bars, movie theaters, bowling alleys, and churches have been shuttered or have had to operate at a reduced capacity since March.

GET HYPED FOR THE GAME

WAFB’S 9Sports team will provide a special report previewing LSU football in 2020, ahead of Saturday’s season-opener against Mississippi State.

“Eye on the Tigers - 2020 Vision” will look at some of the many new pieces in place for this year and how the team continues to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.

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