Homecoming brings the past and present together at Truman State University. Students show their school spirit in events all week, culminating in the largest show of spirit of the fall semester – the Homecoming football game.
This year, the homecoming game resulted in a 36-14 victory.
“Everyone is at the game to support Truman school spirit,” junior Drew Arends said. “It’s the one time each year we go all out for Truman.”
Though there are usually tailgates prior to each home football game, the Homecoming tailgate is always the most crowded and energetic. Coming directly off the heels of the parade, the tailgate provides an opportunity for alumni and students to celebrate Truman.
The players and coaches can certainly feel the elevated energy as well.
“There is more energy during Homecoming games than regular ones since everyone is back,” senior defensive tackle Robert Greco said. “The student body shows out more for Homecoming since they are also included.”
Greco added that the homecoming court, tailgate and parade all give students an opportunity to participate in the homecoming experience, increasing the energy brought by everyone.
“Homecoming is always special,” head coach Gregg Nesbitt said. “There is definitely more energy at practice the week leading up to the game.”
Another special part of Homecoming for Greco is the team’s interactions with its alumni.
“[The homecoming game] has a special feel because of the people who are there,” Greco said. “Old bulldogs coming back to see us makes the game more special to me, at least because this is a way for us to show them the legacy is still going strong and is better than ever.”
Homecoming is certainly a much more intimate experience at Truman than at other, larger schools, Arends said.
Arends said he has attended football games and tailgates at the University of Missouri, where school spirit is much more apparent. While the Homecoming game is not as large an event at Truman as at Division I schools, students say that it adds to their Truman experience.
Issac Vilchis, a sophomore marching band member, agrees that there is more energy at Homecoming than at other Truman football games.
“The homecoming game is pretty special because of the large number of people that attend,” Vilchis said. “There’s definitely more energy in the crowd and the band.”
A major reason for the excitement at the Homecoming game this year is the success the football team has enjoyed already. Truman is off to a 5-1 start, with several key road wins and a come-from-behind overtime victory during Family Weekend.
The football team added to the excitement of the events leading up to the game by getting out to a fast start. Sophomore Mason Huskey blocked a Missouri S&T punt on the game’s opening possession which the offense used to score an early touchdown. The Bulldogs steamrolled from there, as they led 30-8 at halftime and won the game 36-14.
Nesbitt understands that his team must keep pushing if they are to attain their goals for the season.
“We are in the danger zone right now,” Nesbitt said. “It is a psychological battle to maintain focus and keep improving while also focusing on being a student. It is also a physical battle to get your body back as bumps, bruises and actual injuries add up. Thus far, this team has been able to do so.”
“The feeling in the locker room right now is ‘don’t be content,’” Greco said. “Being on a -game winning streak is nice and all, but those games are in the past. The mindset is ‘don’t be happy with what we have already achieved, be hungry for everything that is out in front of us.’”