On a normal Saturday in the fall, Milan Puskar Stadium is filled with 60,000 gold-and-blue clad fans backing the Mountaineers in full voice.
But for Saturday’s home opener against Eastern Kentucky, only families of players and coaches and official WVU Athletics personnel were permitted inside the stadium as a COVID-19 precaution, creating an atmosphere that head coach Neal Brown called “kind of surreal.”
It wasn’t so unordinary for a few of Brown’s players, though — especially the ones who transferred to WVU from smaller schools.
“I played at Bowling Green in the ‘MACtion’ on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and my family was the only people in the stands at the time,” said Jarret Doege, West Virginia’s starting quarterback. “So it’s nothing new to me.”
Redshirt senior Alonzo Addae, another transfer who made his Mountaineer debut Saturday, said his love for the game is what got him amped up to play. Addae impressed in his first performance, which included seven tackles and a highlight reel interception.
“Honestly, it was no different for me just because of the love for the game. I think that’s one thing me and my teammates all share is just a true passion for football,” Addae said. “Regardless, we’re still suiting up and representing West Virginia as a state, and we want to do that proudly.”
To Doege, there was another silver lining.
“I could hear my mom scream,” Doege said. “You can see her in the stands. Usually you can’t find her, but I could see her sitting front row.”
West Virginia’s next home game is coming up Oct. 3 against Baylor. WVU Athletics has not announced the ticketing policy for that game.