Item: The Dome used to be called the “Loud House” for a reason.
When a capacity crowd in the Dome erupts in unison for the home team, the Teflon supported roof takes over and does its job of keeping that noise confined.
The two loudest moments that will always stand out to us came before essentially sell-out crowds of 50,000:
- The first-play, 80 yard touchdown bomb from QB Don McPherson to current wide receivers coach Rob Moore in the 1987 Penn State blitz that made it 7-0 with 14:50 on the first quarter clock (try to top that feat in 10 seconds), and ended a 17 year losing streak to the longtime rival Nittany Lions.
- The two-point conversion scamper by TB Michael Owens on a McPherson pitchout to edge West Virginia 32-31 for an undefeated ’87 regular season.
The noise on both occasions was several minutes of deafening exuberance.
The last time we can recall anything close, and again that’s relative to the changing ebb and flow of the program in the 2000s, was unranked Notre Dame’s appearance to end a 6-6 2003 season with 48,170 on hand cheering Walter Reyes’ five TD game, the Virginia Tech game in 2000 in front of 49,033 as the second ranked Hokies and Michael Vick escaped 22-14, and perhaps Doug Marrone’s first game in 2009, a tough 23-20 OT loss to Minnesota with an announced 48,617 in the building.
That the first big home game of an improving team in the Scott Shafer era happens to be the historic ACC debut against third-ranked Clemson and its rabid traveling fan base Saturday afternoon (3:30 ET / ABC or ESPN2), and the great McPherson, the ’87 Heisman Trophy runner-up, will have his No. 9 jersey unveiled hanging high above the Dome action, makes this one game that Orange Nation should show the Tigers and their accompanying guests what an orange-flavored, (indoor) home field advantage is really all about. Forget Howard’s Rock this week.
Heck, with tickets at prices that would make Clemson fans in college football mad South Carolina laugh (starting at $29 plus other family deals); there’s little reason to expect nothing less than a walkup crowd ensuring a jam packed atmosphere that gives the Orange all of its “Dome field” advantage against the talented Tigers QB Tajh Boyd and company.