MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WHNT) - Alabama and Auburn have the big followings around here, but they aren't the only teams that took the field this weekend. Alabama A&M traveled up to the Volunteer State for their season opener with some loud and passionate fans.
"I've been supporting the Alabama A &M bulldogs my whole life, that's all I've ever known," says Frank Fletcher, a longtime Bulldog supporter.
Fletcher was one of the first to rush on the bus Saturday morning, leaving from the Rocket City. "I rarely miss any A&M games," he says.
Nearly 50 fans took the bus, and hundreds more drove separately to watch their Bulldogs take the field against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders. "Look at all these people. We have fun," says Fletcher.
Most game days, the tailgate crowd packs a grill, but Saturday, they opted for a catering menu sure to make your stomach growl. "Smoked chicken, potato salad, slaw, rolls," says Freeman Hollifield, the organizer of the tailgate.
Just like a football game, these tailgates take a lot of planning and preparation. Hollifield says, with the Athletic Director's blessing, they will travel to every A&M road game this season. He says planning these gatherings is more for the student athletes, than the fans. "When the student athletes see fans in the stands, they naturally play better and we give them support, even if it's only about 100 of us, that means something to the team," he says.
Don't be confused, this crowd has plenty of fun on their own. "Not many other things I'd rather do in the fall than to be at an Alabama A&M tailgate and an Alabama A&M football game," says Fletcher.
Just enjoying the company of your fellow fan can be a victory, no matter what the scoreboard says. "Even if they don't win on the field, we're having fun," says Fletcher.