Many talented football players have called M. M. Roberts Stadium their home field during college. Players such as Brett Favre, Ray Guy, Patrick Surtain, and Louis Lipps played their college ball for the Golden Eagles.
Originally opened in 1932 with a capacity of 4,000 fans under the name of Faulkner Field, The Rock now holds 36,000 fans after an expansion closed in the southern end zone of the stadium in 2008. With a record breaking crowd attending a game in Hattiesburg in 2009, it seemed Southern Miss and M. M. Roberts Stadium were well on their way to Conference USA dominance, and in fact, the Golden Eagles reached the top in 2011 with a Conference USA championship.
However, mired in a losing streak that has stretched over two seasons in 2012 and 2013, hard times have fallen in Hattiesburg.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
Stadium food is rarely special, but at Southern Miss games, there is just not much from which to choose. In the concession stands, there are sausage dogs ($4), hot dogs ($3), and different snacks. A large drink will cost you five dollars. The Eagle Dining Stations serve items such as nachos and cheeseburgers. The best deal in the concession area might be the chicken tenders basket for $6. Pizza lovers can grab pizza from Dominos as well.
Looking at the taste, selection, and price, the concession situation at M. M. Roberts leaves a little to be desired, but the stadium gets a little bump from how many stands are available in every part of the stadium. With multiple stands located on all sides of the stadium, there are not many long lines, so a trip to the concession stand does not eat up a chunk of time.
A few years ago, Southern Miss sat at the top of Conference USA. They drew decent crowds, and the fans stayed pretty fired up. Now, mired in the depths of a two-season losing streak, much of that enthusiasm has left Hattiesburg.
Most of those in the announced attendance show up disguised as empty seats. Tickets can be had outside the stadium for as little as five dollars.
Most of those who do show up in the stadium give it all that they have, but there is just not that much to give with many of the fans there. Two seasons of losing can take it out of a fan base, and it seems to be that is what has happened at Southern Miss. This once feared road destination has lost much of its bite.
Outside the stadium, many folks gather around for tailgating and fun, and the Eagle Walk has become an attraction for Southern Miss fans.
Hattiesburg has a pretty good atmosphere for a college student and for a game day. Fans tailgate all over the campus, which is conveniently located in Hattiesburg.
As far as what is in town, Mugshots is one of the best hangouts on a game day in Hattiesburg. The restaurant has some amazing burgers (my recommendation is the peanut butter burger), and it usually has a crowd that loves sports on the weekend.
One of the most exciting things is when someone decides to try to tackle the Mugshot Challenge. They have to eat a burger made of three patties, and it is loaded with six strips of bacon, swiss and cheddar cheese, and all the trimmings. They also have to knock down the side of fries, an onion ring and beer battered pickle with it. To make it more difficult, the challenger only has twelve minutes to complete the feat. The cost is twenty dollars, unless they complete the challenge, in which case it is free. Big eaters be warned: I've personally witnessed many folks attempt this and fail.
In addition to burgers, the appetizers offered by Mugshots are fantastic as well.
For those looking for a variety of craft beer, Keg & Barrel is a must. Not only can someone grab their old standby beer there, beer lovers can try craft beers, local beers, and beers from all over the world. It is pretty nice place to visit.
If you need a place to take the kids, the Plaid Rhino offers a great atmosphere with a playroom for kids and adults.
In terms of other attractions, the Longleaf Trace Trail and the Hattiesburg Zoo can provide pre-game excitement.
Of all of these, only the trail is within walking distance of the stadium, but the others are short drives. If one wants to walk to Mughshots, they could, but it would be about a 20-minute walk.
When traveling to a Southern Miss game, keep in mind that the Golden Eagles play about 90 minutes from the casinos and beaches of the Mississippi Coast and from the French Quarter in New Orleans.
M. M. Roberts has a capacity of 36,000 fans, but over the past few years, it has rarely come close to being that full. In fact, many of the announced crowds (as with most programs) does not come close to the actual attendance. Right now, the Golden Eagles are playing in front of a half-full stadium at best at home. For many games, the number is not that high.
That said, the fans that do attend the games stay into the game, and they cheer hard for their team. The problem is that the team has provided very few moments in recent seasons for the fans to cheer. Fans may have a glimmer of hope in 2014 as Southern Miss will host Alcorn State and Appalachian State in September of 2014. When the Golden Eagles hosted Alcorn State in 2009, the stadium attendance record was set at over 36,000. Look for that game to be well attended as Southern Miss will be presented with a golden chance to break what might then be a 25-game losing streak.
M.M. Roberts might be one of the easiest Division I stadiums to find. It is located off of U.S. Highway 49, and it is just south of Interstate 59. Parking can be had on campus, but many times, it is easier to pay five or ten dollars and park across Highway 49 from the stadium.
Many different businesses open their parking areas along the access roads, and it makes it quick to get in and get out. On previous trips, it has been possible to get to Hattiesburg 20 minutes before kickoff and get parked, buy tickets, and find seats before kickoff.
With an early enough arrival, parking will be available along Highway 49 for free. This parking is the closest one can get to the stadium without having to have a pass for specific lots.
No one should ever have more than a 15-minute walk to the stadium from their parking place at a Southern Miss football game.
If a fan goes through the ticket office, the typical family of four will cost in the range of $60-$120 to enter the stadium depending on the desired seats. With the way the games have been attended over the past few years, fans should buy the cheapest tickets, wait just a bit, and move to better seating. The best option might be buying tickets from resellers outside the stadium. While this does run with a risk of fakes or buying wrong seats during a hasty purchase, the price can be quite low. During the 2012 season, two tickets could be had for ten dollars outside the gates.
Given the struggles of the Southern Miss team the last two years, there have not been many competitive games to see in Hattiesburg, and this dings the return on investment a bit. While any game can be a blowout, the Golden Eagles have only had two games where they lost by only one score, a seven-point loss to Texas State and a one-point loss to Florida International.
However, on the positive side, fans can usually end up sitting pretty close to the field during games, an opportunity that might not always be available at other stadiums at this level of college football.
The availability of free or cheap parking also helps keep down the cost of attendance, and it is very reasonable to take a family of four to a game and spend between $100-$150.
The first star goes to the "Pride of Mississippi" Marching Band. The students in this band may have been the loudest and most vocal supporters of the Golden Eagles in the final home game of the 2013 season. Even though the weather was miserable and the play on the field was uninspiring, the students kept playing and cheering.
A second star goes to all of the options to keep up with the game in the concourse area. There are multiple televisions in each of the concourses, and the radio broadcast can be heard in the restrooms. Once the weather became nasty during my most recent visit, many fans took to the concourses to keep up with the game.
Speaking of the restrooms, they gain the final star. With plenty located in the stadium, a trip to the restroom will not cost a fan much time. These restrooms also stay very clean as an added bonus.
A final star gets awarded for the ease of getting cash while at the game. There are three ATM machines located in the stadium, so getting cash for lines or vendors in the bleachers is not a problem.
Nothing beats football Saturdays in the South and one of the best places to experience all the pageantry is M. M. Roberts Stadium at the University of Southern Mississippi. The stadium affectionately known as "The Rock" was originally opened in 1979, but its history dates back to the late 1930's.
The Rock was already one of the toughest environments in which to play in Conference USA, but the stadium was closed in on the south end zone to give 4,000 more seats and added luxury suite boxes to bump the total capacity to 36,000 seats. The north end zone houses a HD scoreboard and athletic field house.
The Rock gives fans the ability to be right near the action and exposes them to one of the best atmospheres in the South. The Pride of Mississippi Band and the Dixie Darlings make this a great experience for any sports fan.
M.M. Roberts Stadium is home to the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, one of the nations most successful football teams. Nicknamed, "The Rock," the stadium is state of the art, with several suites/clubs, huge scoreboard, and great sight-lines all around. The fans pack the stadium and are very passionate and loud all game. Great football for a great price! Southern Miss... To the TOP!
M.M. Roberts Stadium or better known as (The Rock) is a stadium located at The University of Southern Mississippi. The stadium is known for its crazy loud environment especially in CUSA! USM probably has one of the loudest stadiums in the league but here is the real kicker the stadium could be 20x better and maybe a regional destination in the south. The problem is the fans in Hattiesburg and south MS are mostly SEC fans and really don't show the kind of support that could be for The Rock! Its really a shame...the rock could be a special place. People of south MS need to understand and realize that Southern Miss represents the people of Southern Mississippi and they need to become loyal to who they are and represent their university and athletic programs.
3803 W 4th St
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
1315 Hardy St
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
2895 W 4th St
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
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