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More Than a Game

A day at the stadium is a colorful, emotional ritual

Texas Tech vs. UT. This is the game. The biggie. Marked on Panhandle calendars for months. When the national powerhouse Longhorns traipse into Lubbock, as they did last November 3, typically mild-mannered folks in the Panhandle rouse to a fury.

The passions and strategies on game day cannot be contained by the impeccable turf at Jones AT&T Stadium, and they certainly didn’t wait for the 2:30 p.m. kickoff. A record crowd of 60,879 turned the grounds at Fourth Street and University Avenue into a community larger than about 1,700 towns in the state.

Here’s a glimpse into that community—a day in the life of a college football stadium.

That was my mission: Go to the big game, camera in hand, and photograph everything but the action on the field. Show what makes the place buzz with emotion. Equipped with only a press pass and my trusty Hasselblad, I showed up in Lubbock at 10 a.m., and I wasn’t alone. The fans in the stands and an ABC/ESPN2 television audience saw Texas defeat the Red Raiders 31-22 after not trailing all game. Here’s what I saw.