Oklahoma center Ty Darlington was stunned when he walked into Neyland Stadium last September.
Previously a firm believer that crowd noise could not affect a college football game, he was proved wrong by the 100,000-plus in Knoxville. Wednesday, Darlington shared his account of the game — a 31-24 comeback win for the Sooners — on his personal blog.
I came off the field after that first drive and reassured Coach Bedenbaugh that the fans would settle down in due time, and that noise was not going to be an issue going forward. Boy was I wrong. The noise was a constant, oppressive force. I could literally feel it on my skin. But these fans weren’t just loud on the first drive. Or just on 3rd down. Or just in the fourth quarter. It was every. single. play.
Darlington wrote the post as a way to get Sooners fans pumped up for this weekend’s game vs. No. 3 Ohio State, offering plenty of praise for the Vols crowd in the process.
“I scoffed at the notion that a fan could actually have an impact on a football game,” he wrote. “And then I ran out of the tunnel in Knoxville, Tennessee.”
Neyland (capacity: 102,455) is the fifth-largest football stadium in the country, behind Texas A&M’s Kyle Field (102,733), Ohio State’s Ohio Stadium (104,944), Penn State’s Beaver Stadium (106,572) and Michigan’s Michigan Stadium (107,601).
It will host a game between the Volunteers and the visiting Ohio Bobcats this weekend (Noon ET, SEC Network).