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The University of Texas at San Antonio Online Magazine

Tailgating

Football Without Tailgating?
Nah.

Tailgating is such an integral part of college football’s tradition, pageantry and culture that it’s difficult to imagine game day without fans partying outside the stadium, hours before kickoff.

College football without tailgate parties and pregame activities that bring students, alumni and the community together on fall Saturdays would be like having Thanksgiving turkey without the dressing.

The game, like the turkey, is and always will be the main attraction. But there’s no doubt that tailgating, whether it’s grilling in a parking lot or taking part in an impromptu pep rally, adds flavor to the game-day experience that makes college football one of America’s favorite sports.

Since the Alamodome opened in 1993, fans of other universities have partied outside the 65,000-seat facility before Alamo Bowls, Big 12 title games and an assortment of other college football matchups. Even Notre Dame played at the dome in 2009.

Starting this year, UTSA students and alumni finally will get their chance to join the fun. After years of anticipation, the Roadrunners open their inaugural season Sept. 3 against Northeastern (Okla.) State at the Alamodome. All six UTSA home games this season start at 1 p.m.

TAILGATE RECIPES



Blue Moon Chicken with Grilled Oranges and Corn

Chicken Ingredients:

4 split chicken breasts
(preferably with skin on)
4 small oranges, quartered
4 teaspoons honey
Spice rub

Rub Ingredients:

1 teaspoon ground coriander
5 cloves (ground)
3 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons black pepper (ground)
1 (12 ounce) can beer
(a Hefeweizen or wheat beer)

Roasted Corn Ingredients: Yields 6–8

8 large corn ears without silk, leaves pealed back
7 ounces feta, finely crumbled
1/4 cup finely chopped mint
1/2 stick unsalted butter, soft
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil, to rub corn

Chicken Directions:

  1. Place chicken in large baking pan to marinate in beer for 25–45 minutes. Remove and pat dry.
  2. Drizzle 1 teaspoon honey on each chicken breast, skin side only. Follow generously with rub, evenly distributed between chicken.
  3. Prepare grill for direct heat grilling.
  4. Grill, skin side down, 3 minutes. Rotate chicken 90 degrees to create marks, and grill additional 3 minutes on same side.
  5. Place orange quarters on grill separate from highest heat. Grill 2 minutes per side and remove. Set aside.
  6. Flip chicken to non-skin side, grill 2 minutes. Rotate 90 degrees to create marks, and grill additional 2 minutes until done.
  7. Remove and serve each chicken breast with a grilled orange wedge. Use the orange to squirt on chicken or enjoy separately.

Corn Directions:

  1. Rub corn leaves inside with oil, push leaves back up, prepare grill for heat.
  2. In a large bowl, stir to combine the mint, butter, feta and salt.
  3. Grill corn, turning as necessary, until just cooked through and some grill marks appear.
  4. Toss the corn in the mint feta mixture to coat.
  5. Cut corn cobs into 3 to 4 equal slices, depending on the number of people or desired serving size.


Roadrunner Firecrackers

Ingredients:

1 package (4 sleeves) saltine crackers
3/4 cup canola oil
3/4 cup olive oil
1 package ranch dressing mix
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes

Directions:

Place crackers in an airtight plastic container. Combine remaining ingredients and mix well. Pour over crackers, seal with lid and turn container upside down. Turn every 30 minutes at least four times.

–Courtesy Molly Kelley



Arugula, Orange and Bleu Salad

Ingredients:

4 cups arugula
2 oranges, peeled and sectioned
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
Bleu cheese

Directions:

Make a dressing by whisking together the oil, vinegar and salt. Pour over the arugula and orange slices immediately before serving. Sprinkle crumbled bleu cheese on the salad, to taste.

–Courtesy Ignacio Zak

"This is something that I've wanted for our students for the past 10 years, to have a major college experience," said John Kaulfus, associate dean of students. "From the time they wake up on Saturday until they go to bed, I want them to be thinking of UTSA and major college football. It's going to be so much fun for our students to have the chance to experience this.

“For years, we were a commuter school, but we have become a traditional residential campus. Having a traditional football game day is another step toward becoming a Tier One research university. Football is really going to bring our students and the San Antonio community together.”

UTSA, which has an enrollment of about 31,000, will provide park-and-ride shuttle bus service to the Alamodome for UTSA students at a discounted price.

Kaulfus, a Seguin native who graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1992, heads a committee that’s spent a good part of the past 18 months planning UTSA’s pregame festivities.

“I’ve never seen the students more excited than they’ve been about football,” Kaulfus said. “There’s definitely a buzz on campus. You can feel it.”

Athletics Director Lynn Hickey said UTSA officials have a responsibility to provide a fun atmosphere before games. “We want to provide different opportunities and allow fans to choose what they want to do,” she said. “We have classy fans and want to provide classy pre-game opportunities—just like those experienced at the Alamo Bowl games and other games played at the Alamodome.”

Hickey said UTSA will work closely with restaurants downtown to promote business on Friday and Saturday nights.

Fantasic

FANtastic!
Introducing Rowdy Town and Roadrunner Station

Rowdy Town
Located in the North Plaza outside of the Alamodome, Rowdy Town opens three hours prior to kickoff before each home game. Rowdy Town will feature a play area for kids, and an official tailgate party with live music.

Roadrunner Station
Sunset Station will be renamed Roadrunner Station for every game day and will be the central meeting place for all Roadrunners. There will be live music, activities, giveaways and concessions. Roadrunner Station will be open from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Arrive by 11 a.m. to see the team and band march into the Alamodome.

Go to the Game Day Website

"We want our games to drive some value downtown," Hickey said.

The north plaza outside the Alamodome—which will be called Rowdy Town—will be the epicenter of pregame fun. Rowdy Town will open three hours before kickoff and offer free entertainment for young and old. There will be play areas for children, complete with inflatables, and live music. Food and drinks will be sold at concession booths.

“As Lynn Hickey says, ‘San Antonio doesn’t throw a party; it throws a fiesta,’” said Jim Goodman, associate athletics director for marketing. “We want that whole area to be a place where people will mingle, get something to eat, drink and listen to music before going into the Alamodome. Included in this will be the Bud Light Stage with various bands.”

Roadrunner Station, located just north of the Alamodome at historic Sunset Station, also will have live music and a family-friendly atmosphere.

“We’ve tried to create an environment where there will be something for everyone—students, alumni, children, families and the general public,” said Barry McKinney, director of student activities. “If you’ve got a family, [Roadrunner Station] is going to be affordable. You can take your family and make a day of it.”

The highlight of pregame activities at Roadrunner Station will be when the UTSA band and football team walk through the venue en route to the Alamodome, said Jim Mickey, associate vice president of alumni programs and marketing.

“We want to have a spirit line at Roadrunner Station and create a tradition,” Mickey said. “We want Roadrunner Station to be a fun place for people to congregate before Roadrunner games and get excited talking about UTSA football.”

Mickey said the goal is to create different events in multiple places, allowing people to choose how to participate. “Our pregame festivities will almost be like a menu,” he said. “We just want people to have fun. We don’t want to have cover charges because we know people will want to move around from place to place. We want our fans to have fun with us however they choose to.”

A 1978 UTSA graduate, Mickey said football has drawn alums back to the university. UTSA has about 85,000 alumni, with about 55,000 living in the San Antonio area.

“There’s no doubt that our alumni are excited about UTSA football,” Mickey said.

Goodman said the Roadrunners’ pregame festivities outside the Alamodome will be a work in progress.

“We’re just trying to set up something for the fans, give them some structure, but things probably will change from game to game. It’s all going to evolve,” Goodman said. “The great thing, the cool part, is that we get to start it. We get to put stuff out there and see what stuff takes root."

The proximity of the Alamodome to the River Walk gives UTSA fans another option for pregame revelry.

“When you ask 10 people what they mean by tailgating, you might get eight different answers,” Goodman said. “We’re not like other colleges. We’re playing in downtown San Antonio and there’s an attraction, the River Walk, nearby. To some people, tailgating is going to mean going to the River Walk before a game.”

Since the Alamodome has only about 2,500 parking spaces, slots for traditional tailgating will be limited in the facility’s parking lot.

Football season ticket holders with Alamodome parking passes may tailgate in lots B or C. Student organizations and UTSA alumni will have designated tailgating areas in these same lots.

“People will determine through experience how and where they want to tailgate,” Hickey said.

Mickey said it’s important to remember that tailgating and football are new for UTSA. “We don’t have a 100-year college football history like some other Texas schools,” he said. “The neat part about that is our students, alumni and the city of San Antonio get to create new Roadrunner traditions. These traditions will evolve from game to game in year one and over time as we build our program to the top tier.”

UTSA, which added football to its athletic program in 2009, will compete as an independent in the Football Championship Subdivision, formerly NCAA Division I-AA, this season. The Roadrunners will move up to the Football Bowl Subdivision, formerly Division I-A, in 2012 when they start playing in the Western Athletic Conference.

Larry Coker, who guided Miami to the 2001 BCS national championship, was hired as UTSA’s head coach in March 2009. Coker, his coaching staff and the Roadrunners’ players drew a big ovation last October when they were introduced at a pep rally on campus.

“That excitement has never, ever left,” McKinney said. “There’s a lot of anticipation in the air.”

Given that anticipation, the atmosphere inside and outside the Alamodome should rock on Sept. 3.

—David Flores

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