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Tailgating is pregame fuel for the crowd inside of Georgia State Stadium

Tailgating is a tradition in football history. The Zeta Theta chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated joins in outside of Georgia State Stadium for the first game of the season. Photo by Unique Rodriguez | The Signal

College football is back. One of the best sports in the world has returned, which means the Georgia State football team will be playing on Saturdays.

The college football gameday experience is one that rivals no other with its hours of tailgating fun before and after the game.

Tailgating sets the mood for the entire game, and a successful one can carry over into the stadium. Such was the case this past week at Georgia State Stadium. The Panthers took on in-state foe, Kennesaw State, and with the two schools being in such close proximity to each other, many Owls fans made the trip down.

“Its close by and it’s our first FBS opponent, so it’s kind of a challenge as far as the program is and the nice thing is that it’s close by so all of our fans can get here and hopefully start an in-state rivalry,” Kennesaw State student Daniel Brooks said.

Fans are such an integral part of the game, and both fan bases were on display before kickoff. Georgia State played its first football game in 2010, but the tailgating has picked up in the past few years.

“I’ve been doing it about five years now,” alumni Kenneth Ashley said. “You get to meet a lot of people. When I was going to school back in the 70s, there was hardly any camaraderie with the students and with the school, so this is bringing everyone to school. I just—I love it. There are people that I never knew went to Georgia State now that I can talk to.”

A good tailgate requires several things: food, fun and people.

“A grill, good music and good drinks,” Brooks said. “If you have good drinks you can make games.”

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Greek life plays an important role on the Georgia State and Kennesaw State campuses. The Zeta Theta chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Incorporated and the Zeta Mu chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated hosted joint tailgates with their Kennesaw State brothers.

“We’re brothers at the end of the day, but that’s how you hold yourself to a higher standard by rivaling with your brother and trying to do better than him. That’s how you set the bar high and surpass it everytime,” Kadeem Hunter, a member of the Zeta Theta chapter, said.

This particular tailgate was unique for many because it was their first, and that was the case for Georgia State freshman Daniel Solorzano. Solorzano is a freshman from Venezuela, where American football isn’t popular, but soccer is. Even with the soccer culture in Venezuela, Solorzano still hadn’t experienced anything like this.

“It’s a very nice experience, this is American Culture,” Solorzano said. “We’ve never done this before, we’ve never stood before the game or after the game in the parking lot, having fun, having conversations with people.”

This past game day, the tailgate’s atmosphere carried into the stadium and helped the Panthers to a victory. The crowd of 23,088 was loud from start to finish, and for the first time in the short Georgia State Stadium history, it felt like an intense college football experience.

“I thought our crowd was really good,” head coach Shawn Elliott said after the game. “It felt like … a big-time atmosphere right there before the half, the energy—I could feel it. I’m an emotional guy. I fuel myself off of excitement from players, crowds and I know people say you shouldn’t do that, but I do, and I could feel it.”

Tailgating is a memorable part of every college football experience. And if the Panthers’ first game was any indication, Georgia State’s tailgating atmosphere will only continue improving.