COLUMBUS, Ohio — Urban Meyer doesn’t just want 100,000 fans at Ohio State’s spring football game on Saturday.
He’s probably going to get it.
The Buckeyes set college football’s spring game attendance record last year when 99,391 fans showed up to watch the defending national champions, stacked with talent, on a beautiful day that featured a halftime quarterback competition involving Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett and Troy Smith and a foot race where Braxton Miller and Ezekiel Elliott challenged students.
Add that up and you think it might be a one-time thing.
That day broke the previous spring football national record of 95,722 set by the Buckeyes in 2009, when fans were fired up by the prospects of Terrelle Pryor’s first spring game.
It turns out, numbers like that may become the norm in Columbus. At least when it’s sunny.
Brett Scarbrough, Ohio State’s assistant athletic director for ticketing, told cleveland.com on Tuesday morning that 67,400 tickets have been sold for Saturday’s game. A year ago, the Buckeyes had sold 47,400 tickets by the Tuesday before the game.
Ohio State is 20,000 ahead of last year’s pace. With a forecast for Saturday of 70 degrees and sunshine, getting to 100,000 and beating last year’s mark isn’t just coach-speak.
“That’s what we’re aiming for,” Scarbrough said. “We want to get there.”
After a pricing snafu in 2014 that originally set spring ticket prices at $20 before the Buckeyes came to their senses, the $5 ticket price has helped drive sales the last two years.
So has football and weather and the idea that the spring game is the best chance for many fans to take in a day of Ohio State football at less than 10 percent of the cost of a regular-season game.
“I’m appealing to our fans to come out and support us, for a lot of reasons,” Meyer said Monday. “There’s nothing like performing in front of 100,000 people. It’s supposed to be great weather so I’m hoping we get 100,000 people.”
Meyer said the game should provide more value than any of the previous four spring games in his tenure, because there are so many new players who haven’t taken the field at Ohio Stadium and so much playing time up for grabs.
With those new faces, (the Buckeyes lost 16 starters) we’ve warned you that it could get ugly.
It should also be interesting. And crowded.
Ohio State men’s lacrosse will play Michigan at 11 a.m., followed by the spring game at about 1:30. Tickets are still available. But a lot of them are going to be used.
“There’s something about spring football,” Scarbrough said. “People just want to get outside and after the past couple weeks, I think we had cabin fever and now it’s supposed to be a beautiful day. A perfect day for a spring game.”
A day for 100,000 it seems.
(Ohio State’s spring football game will be televised on the Big Ten Network starting at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.)
BuckeyeNation knows how to do it up big! Let’s get to 100,000 on Saturday! pic.twitter.com/PKbpYdaPUZ
— Mark Pantoni (@markpantoni) April 12, 2016