Driving along I-75 in northern Ohio, you may have noticed a football stadium off to the West. If you drive by at night, the orange letters "BGSU" glow in the darkness. This is the home of Bowling Green State University's Falcon football team. The name of the venue is Doyt L. Perry Stadium, but it is often simply referred to as "The Doyt."
Bowling Green is a member of the Mid American Conference (MAC), and the brand of football tends to be high scoring and unpredictable. A trip to The Doyt, while far from life-changing, can be an enjoyable autumn afternoon, so pull off the interstate and go see the Falcons.
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The selection at the concession stands is unimpressive, a bit on the pricey side, a bad combination. All the usual suspects are here including hot dogs ($4), cheeseburgers ($5), corn dog ($3), nachos ($4), and brats ($5). The three P's of stadium concessions (pretzel, pop corn, and pizza) are also here, with pizza provider by Papa John's ($4).
Coke products are your soda option ($4 for a 32-ounce cup), and hot beverages are from Tim Horton's ($2 for coffee or cocoa). I was surprised to find beer on sale at the concessions. The general rule in the NCAA is that if the venue is off campus, then it can serve alcohol, and The Doyt must be just far enough off to qualify. You can purchase plastic bottles of Budweiser or Bud Light anytime before the 10-minute mark of the 3rd quarter ($6).
Of the stadiums I have visited in the MAC, Doyt L. Perry Stadium is one of my favorites. I appreciate the stellar marching band and their energy and level of activity during the game. After almost every play the marching band dives in with a line from a song. It really helps to keep the energy of the crowd up and makes for a good overall atmosphere.
Most of the seating is the typical metal bleachers that you'll find in many stadiums of this size. The leg room though is slightly better, and if you can find an aisle seat there is some extra width to your seating area as they sort of give the end stop an extra half of a seat, so look for that (an aisle seat with a high number - not seat 1). There is also some chairback seating in rows 13-18, which also have above average leg room, and are far enough above the field to provide a good (and comfortable) vantage point. These would be the seats I would recommend most.
The concourse is essentially a paved road beneath the stands, but as you cross behind the south end zone, you come very close to the field, and many fans choose to stand there for an up-close look at the action (as long as they're on that end of the field). Unfortunately you can't completely walk around the stadium as the beautiful new Sebo Athletic Center blocks off the north end.
One thing that I found really grating was the Falcon screech that they played over the PA. Every time the Falcons gained 10 yards, the announcer would say, "for another Falcons! FIRST DOWN!" This would be followed by a loud falcon screech sound effect that elicited the same physical reaction that you may get if someone ran their nails down a chalk board. It was awful, and I hope this is a tradition they discontinue in the future.
Since Doyt L. Perry Stadium is located immediately off a major interstate, the surrounding area is reminiscent of many highway exits. There are fast food joints, gas stations, and hotels. Also surrounding the stadium are many of the other prominent sports venues for Bowling Green Athletics, including the newly constructed Stroh Center, and the BGSU Ice Arena.
If you travel a mile or two away, however, you will find downtown Bowling Green which offers several spots for a pre-game meal or a post-game drink. As a rule, heading to either Main Street or University Avenue in a college town is a sure way to find a good place to eat, and Bowling Green is no exception.
My first stop was into Trotter's. Do not be fooled by the dingy exterior. This comfortable little pub offers good food, a cozy atmosphere, and friendly service. I love most places with Scotch eggs on their appetizer menu, and theirs were certainly good. They offer an interesting menu, and this is definitely the place to stop for dinner before or after a Falcons game.
I also tried Easy Street Cafe, which I liked considerably less. I tried a method a friend once introduced to me in that the best way to judge the food at a restaurant is to try their chili. In this case it tasted burnt, and I wasn't able to finish even the small cup I had ordered. They do have a good bottled beer selection though.
Finally, I stopped in to City Tap, which is my recommendation if you're hanging with your bros. They have a great beer selection, a cool looking bar, pool table, and foosball table. The food was so-so, but the energy was definitely there.
The student section was pretty solid, and I like the placement of this section by BGSU. The students sit the northwest corner of the stadium, with the marching band in the north end. This provides a pretty intimidating little corner for opponents, especially since this is the closed end of the stadium.
The alumni and other fans however were less impressive, and certainly didn't show up in very good numbers, especially given the beautiful evening of football weather that coincided with my visit.
Getting to and from the stadium and on to the highway is an absolute breeze since you are about 1/2 mile from the interstate. General parking costs only $5 on Stadium Drive. The parking area is essentially a grass field, which could get dicey on a rainy day, or the day following a big storm, but I suppose that it's better than a dirt lot like I have seen in other locations. Plus, if you're tailgating, there are ample opportunities to play a little catch while you grill your favorite Saturday protein.
Once inside the stadium, you'll find large bathrooms which are clean and without a line throughout the game, so there's no need to miss any of the game to beat the rush.
Tickets for Bowling Green State Falcons football games are sold online via Ticketmaster, which always makes me cringe because I know there is going to be some "convenience fee" that I will find extremely inconvenient. Even so, the most expensive ticket with a chairback seat is only $21 after the fee, which is certainly a very reasonable price. If you add in $5 for parking, and $10 for a drink and something to eat, then you have a very affordable experience.
Affordable is great, but you are ultimately paying for a fairly average experience, so the cost is just about right for what you'll see.
There aren't a lot of extras here, but I did appreciate the Bowling Green marching band- the best that I have seen in the MAC.
Doyt L. Perry Stadium is one of better MAC stadiums to visit, and it is priced right. If you are driving past and see a football game happening, then pull off and take a break from driving to watch some football.
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