Heading to a football game at Eastern Michigan University feels a little like making a visit to the little brother of the University of Michigan. Located just over 6 miles from the Big House, Rynearson Stadium has been the home of the EMU Eagles since 1969.
The stadium has a capacity of just over 30,000. The Olds-Marshall track encircles the field and concrete stands run parallel to each sideline. There's little to make this a memorable experience, but the good news is that there are plenty of good seats available for this program with the team's struggles to rise to the top of the Mid-American Conference.
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There is a bit of a carnival feel to the concession area below the west grand stand. You can find elephant ears ($6) as the most exciting item. Italian or Polish sausages are available ($6), with corn dogs ($4) or a chili cheese dog ($3) as consolation prizes.
Pepsi is the soda vendor at Rynearson Stadium. Choose from two sizes priced from $3-$5. Domino's Pizza is available by the slice ($3.25) or as a whole pie ($15). Boneless chicken ($8), oven-baked sandwiches ($7), and nachos ($3.50) can be found. On colder days, cups of coffee or cocoa would be a wise decision ($2 each).
There is little to make Rynearson Stadium feel warm or unique. Concrete stands with aluminum bleachers are the primary aesthetic. The stadium is named for long-time EMU football coach Elton J. Rynearson, who has 114 wins as head football coach, but also served as the basketball coach for 18 seasons. There is little to honor this legendary leader within the football grounds other than the name itself.
Below the press box, on the west side of the stadium, there are 12 rows of plastic chairs, in case you're looking for back support. Otherwise, your options are limited to the cold metal bleachers found throughout. In either case, the leg room is a little worse than average, however the typical small crowds will allow plenty of room for you to stretch out if you would like.
The small marching band does its best to liven the atmosphere, as does the small and uninspired student section, but overall, neither make a noticeable impact on your gameday experience. Swoop the Eagle is seen sparingly along the sideline, and a cannon in the northeast corner of the stadium is utilized when the Eagles score. The scoreboard is found beyond the north uprights with all of the very basic information displayed, and a small video replay screen.
Head a couple of miles from Rynearson Stadium toward Depot Town to find your pre-game or post game meal or drink. Try Aubree's Pizzeria & Tavern, a bar that I liked quite a bit. They have an outstanding selection of draft beers, including several local options. They have plenty of activities to keep you entertained including a pool table and trivia game. The food is decent, but nothing special. I tried their pizza as well, it has a buttery crust and a comforting greasy quality. This is the place to go though if you are looking for some fun either before or after the game.
Across the street is Sidetrack Bar & Grill. This place is known for its outstanding burgers, and was once named as one of the top 20 burgers by GQ Magazine. I tried the burger which I thought was rather good, as well as their deep-fried pickles, a huge basket of beer-battered spears. The beer selection offers 16 interesting beers on tap, including some good local options. This place is a little less sports-focused than Aubree's, but the food is better.
You may also want to check out the Hudson Automobile Museum or the Michigan Firehouse Museum, both located in Depot Town.
A half-empty stadium definitely makes for a flat experience. Many fans wear the green and white of EMU, but many fans also wear the maize and blue of nearby Michigan. The clash is noticeable. Even more noticeable is the ho-hum effort made by the fans in support of their team. It is difficult to be inspired.
One of the best parts of attending a game at Rynearson Stadium is the abundance of nearby and FREE parking. This is almost unheard of for FBS college football venues, and it is a great idea by Eastern Michigan University in an effort to attract as many fans as possible. You should have little trouble exiting or entering the stadium, both because the crowds tend to be well under capacity, and because the local police do a good job directing traffic, and highways are in close proximity.
Restrooms are roomy enough, and I didn't notice any lines, but they could use some climate control, as it was a little chilly in there.
Tickets are only $10 for EMU Eagles football, and if you have a group of 10 or more, that price drops to $5. When you add in the free parking, and the affordable concessions, then you can certainly have an inexpensive college football experience. Overall, while this isn't a goosebump-inducing situation, it is certainly priced fairly.
I did like the mural above the tunnel in the south endzone, which displayed former EMU players to make it to the NFL. Outside of that, there is a little that could be considered during a visit to Rynearson Stadium.
There's nothing life changing about a trip to see Eastern Michigan football at Rynearson Stadium. If you are a fan of an opposing team and want a good seat, or just want to see college football at an affordable price, then this just might be a good option for you.
Spent $40 all day with 2 kids and the wife. Great value
EMU football games are fun to go to if you go with your family, friends, alumni, students etc. The stadium is a little outdated but still a great looking venue. The tickets are cheap and everything is easy to access.
-Team store to buy from under the bleachers
-Promotions usually going on throughout the season.
-Fun games to watch, quality teams playing.
-Big tail-gating lot, very fun lot with lot's of fans having fun
-You can go inside the convocation center and still watch the game out the windows if it's to cold outside.
-Location of the stadium is nice, near some cities, near a lot of restaurants, near highways.
-Most fans you sit by are really into the games.
-Field turf looks great
-You always have a good view. There isn't really a bad seat.
-Depending on the game you go to, depends on crowd size. I suggest going on a rivalry game day.
-Bring a seat cushion. You get an average bench seat.
-No special scoreboard
-There's a track that goes around the field.
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