Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field stands as the second oldest, on campus, FBS stadium in college football. The site, which hosted its first football game in 1914 as Mississippi A&M’s “New Athletic Field,” picked up the name Scott Field in 1920 when the school’s student body adopted a resolution to honor Don Scott, a successful Olympic runner and Bulldog football player in 1915 and 1916.
The years saw several changes to Scott Field, some of which echo American history during the 20th century. One such example occurred in 1936 when WPA workers started construction on concrete stands on the west side of the field during Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, bringing the capacity of Scott Field to 20,000.
After many years of expansion, contraction, and even a near-abandonment of games in Starkville in favor of Veterans Stadium in Jackson, Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field celebrated its 100th season of Mississippi State football during the 2014 season. During the 2014 season, 62,945 fans attended the No. 3 Bulldogs defeat of No. 2 Auburn in what was arguably the biggest home game in Bulldog history. That attendance set the single-game record for Davis Wade Stadium, and school played host to ESPN’s College GameDay for the first time ever.
With a completed renovation and larger crowds than ever in Starkville, the sounds of cowbells pierce the Eastern Mississippi air louder than ever before when the Maroon and White play at home.
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Fans at a Mississippi State game have a wide variety of choices when they hit the concession areas. They serve the traditional items such as nachos, hot dogs, candy, and Coke products in most of the stands for a reasonable price.
However, for a first time visit, a trip to the Mugshots stand or the Dreamland stand is highly encouraged. Mugshots, a restaurant found in a few cities in Mississippi, serves a variety of specialty burgers, while Dreamland is well known for their bar-b-que. However, if one has played their cards right during the day, they have already had bar-b-que at Lil' Dooey's in Starkville before the game or plan on heading there after the game or the following day.
In the late 1990s, Mississippi State was continually recognized as one of the toughest road venues in the SEC and the nation. A near decade of losing changed that, but in 2014, a renovated stadium and a rise to the No. 1 ranking in the nation changed that.
The fans at Davis Wade Stadium get into the game early, and they stay into the game. Some of that must be attributed to changes made by the athletic department to the in-game music, videos, and ads. In 2013, many fans grumbled that music and videos were played at poorly timed moments, leading some to wonder if the athletic department was more concerned about selling ads than providing a great atmosphere.
Mississippi State's Athletic Director Scott Stricklin took to Twitter acknowledging the issue after the season and said he would make it better. He proved to be true to his word.
One of the new traditions started at Mississippi State was the playing of Journey's Don't Stop Believin' before the fourth quarter.
However, the atmosphere at Davis Wade Stadium starts well before kickoff as fans file into The Junction to tailgate and have a good time before the game. The area played host to SEC Nation and ESPN's College GameDay in 2014, and it proved to be one of the loudest for the shows.
Once it is time for the game, the show moves from The Junction to the stadium.
Starkville has taken a lot of pot shots over the years as not being a great place for college students or fun place on football weekends. Years ago, it may have been the town that fun forgot, but the city has changed much since that time.
While there are many bars in town that will feature mostly college students, there are a variety of other places to go in the downtown area that will not feel quite as much like the college scene.
A few popular spots include BIN 612, Old Venice Pizza Company, Restaurant Tyler, Dave's Dark Horse Tavern, and perhaps the most well-known and famous of them all, Little Dooey.
If anyone has watched ESPN, they will know most of the crew are fanatics about the barbecue at the Little Dooey.
There are shuttles that run from the downtown area to the stadium, and if fans are interested in hitting the downtown area after the game, the best plan may be to park at The Starkville Daily News and ride the shuttle to the game.
For those hitting the road and heading home after a game, a visit to Strange Brew Coffeehouse is a must. Folks making the stop can pick up specialty-flavored coffee and a variety of baked goods for the ride home.
In 2014, Mississippi State fans turned out for the games, and they stayed for the entire game. Rarely did one see empty seats stadium-wide late in the game.
One of the big knocks on Mississippi State fans has been that they do not ring responsibly. For those that do not know, Bulldog fans have a long tradition of bringing cowbells to Mississippi State games and ringing them throughout the game. At one point, they literally rang them throughout the game, and the SEC finally banned them as best they could. A few years ago, the SEC allowed Mississippi State fans to have them at home games, but they could only ring them when the opposing center was not over the ball. For the most part, Bulldog fans have done a good job following this rule.
One thing someone will notice on their first visit to Davis Wade Stadium is that the fans make the venue a loud one. That's a credit to them for bringing back much of the atmosphere that had been missing in previous years.
Until about a decade ago, getting to Starkville meant driving in a line of traffic along a two-lane highway, but that has changed. The traffic flow around the city on Highway 82 has been altered to make it easier to access Mississippi State University.
Several public grass lots are available to those without parking passes at the cost of $20. Parking at the Wise Center, which houses the broadcasting department and the veterinary school on campus, is about a 10-minute walk to the stadium.
There are also several parking areas off campus for various prices. These parking spots may be more beneficial for those hoping to go out to the downtown area after the game.
While getting to the game rarely proves to be a problem, the traffic leaving Starkville has some issues, especially with the larger number of fans coming to games in 2014. While the various agencies all worked together to try to make this better, the fact is there is no good way to get an extra 60,000-70,000 folks out of a city that has a population of under 20,000.
If it is your first time going to Starkville, make sure you have enough gas to travel about thirty miles after leaving towards Columbus or Jackson. If you are traveling towards Tupelo, this is not as big of an issue. However, if you are planning on traveling south on Highway 45, enough gas for about 100 miles could be needed as there are not many stops between Starkville and Meridian at night.
Mississippi State fans will get to see several good teams come through their stadium every year just because the Bulldogs play in the SEC. The 2014 season saw games against No. 6 Texas A&M and No. 2 Auburn at home. 2015 will see home games against Alabama and LSU.
While the tickets are not the cheapest, they are no higher than what fans will pay to go to any SEC venue, and with the improving game day atmosphere, fans are going to enjoy their time at the game.
In 2014, second hand tickets were selling at two or three times face value, so buying tickets early is recommended.
The ringing of cowbells gives Davis Wade a unique (some might say annoying) atmosphere that is not found anywhere else in college football.
A second star goes to the history of the stadium, as it is the second-oldest on-campus stadium in FBS football. Surprisingly (at least to the best of my knowledge), this is not noted anywhere around the stadium.
Mississippi State picks up another bonus stars for their efforts in disseminating game day information to the public. For up-to-date information on parking lot availability, status of road openings and closures and more, those going to the game should follow @HailStateOps on twitter. Fans can also download a game day app for the Bulldogs.
A fourth star goes to the folks who get photos and tweets on the video board. They do a great job of cycling through them, and it gives fans a fun way to interact before the game.
A final star goes to the fact that Barnes and Noble sells t-shirts, cowbells and more inside the stadium at prices that are comparable, and in some cases, better, to their prices in their store next door to the stadium.
Located in Starkville, Mississippi, Davis Wade Stadium and the Mississippi State campus are both found amidst the bucolic countryside just outside of Starkville. Davis Wade Stadium has bragging rights as being one of the oldest stadiums in Division 1-A football, originally opening in 1914. Major reconstruction in the 40's and the current renovations in 2002 have brought capacity to just over 55,000.
Tailgating in The Junction was a sea of tailgate tents, an electric atmosphere with students and fans tailgating side by side. The stadium towering over the tailgate scene helped to increase the anticipation for the game, and it was a quick walk to get in to the gate and to the stands from there.
In the stadium, cowbells rang in a deafening unison which kept the crowd involved throughout the game.
I agree with the official review that the postgame traffic was gridlock, so finding a parking spot farther out and walking is probably a good idea.
Lastly, I would recommend a place called Oby's in Starkville to go for a meal. Great hot sandwiches and a unique local atmosphere.
The experience you will have at Davis Wade Stadium is amazing. The best part about it is the cowbells. If you are a state fan you love them. If you aren't you hate them... The tailgating was great, way better than the Grove at Ole Miss. When you drive on campus you can see the GIANT HD jumbotron from there. Great.
The one thing you will notice about Mississippi State is the fact there are cowbells all over the place. Though when I went a few years back, it said on the ticket AND the stadium policy sign "no cowbells." Obviously that has changed. But overall besides the cowbells, there isn't anything that stands out at Davis Wade.
FOOD: Limited in variety, but what they do have is very tasty, such as their bbq pulled pork sandwich.
ATMOSPHERE: The place has a good college feel to it and with the Cowbells it does add another dimension to the place.
NEIGHBORHOOD: How I view it is simple: off the campus you have a McDonald's and a retirement community. That's about it.
FANS: They were into the game just fine and were pretty intelligent. Not overly friendly however.
ACCESS: Ha. Easy to get to the campus, but unless you have any kind of parking pass, you're going to be a very good while trying to find a parking spot. It seems if you don't have a parking pass, you're in a world of trouble.
ROI: If you get a cheap ticket (which they are easy to come by), you get what you pay for. If you pay a lot for tickets to Mississippi State, you won't get much.
EXTRAS: I loved their large scoreboard. One of the best around. Bathrooms are the cleanest I've been to and if you're on the sidelines on the road side, you have concourses that are climate-controlled.
Formerly known as Scott Field, Davis Wade Stadium, the home of the Mississippi State Bulldogs, has undergone many facelifts over the last fifteen years. The stadium, which originally opened in 1914 holding 20,000 fans, now holds over 55,000 fans and will expand to over 60,000 for the 2014 season.
Davis Wade Stadium has and is being renovated and things keep getting better. The ease in and out of the stadium, restrooms, concessions has drastically improved. As you exit the stadium, you are in the middle of the tailgating. That provides for an atmosphere that is unique. I've traveled to many other stadiums, and they seem to have tailgating at once place, and the stadium somewhere else. Due to the layout of Mississippi State's campus, the stadium is part of the tailgating experience.
Another SEC school, and as such you can expect the atmosphere to be crazy. Lots of loyal fans, and here it is especially loud (and occasionally annoying) b/c they ring cow bells on 3rd down, and at other times, complete with the Christopher Walken clips from SNL. Like other big-time SEC programs, especially Alabama, it is an all-day party with tailgating beginning hours before kickoff.
110 E Main St
Starkville, MS 39759
410 Dr Martin Luther King Jr Dr E
Starkville, MS 39759
612 University Dr
Starkville, MS 39759
100 E Main St
Starkville, MS 39759
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