The kids are back in school and everyone has put their summer vacations in the rear-view mirror, so that can mean only one thing. It’s fall and football season in Ruston, as well as across the South. To get everyone prepped for the Louisiana Tech Football season, I thought this Game Day guide might be helpful to all Bulldog fans new and old! It all starts with Loyal Blue Weekends in Louisiana’s College Town, but this will break down the weekend with some extra details.
What to Wear: Show some spirit! You are there to support your team, so dress for the occasion. Check to see if it is the “Red Out” game. If not, you should be wearing BLUE! Homecoming might be a good time to dress a little nicer, but it’s not necessary. Also, don’t forget to check the weather. Umbrellas aren’t allowed in the stadium, so rain boots and a poncho are your best bet for rainy games. Many local shops offer apparel perfect for game day. Check out some of those here.
Parking: As the crowds continue to grow, the need for parking grows too. Refer to the map below to see all of the available parking options, paid and free. Take note: It is only a 10-minute walk from behind the bookstore to the stadium. For all home games, there's also a free shuttle service offered from downtown Ruston to the stadium and back. Shuttle runs continuously three hours prior to kick-off and one hour after the game ends.
Tailgating: There are a number of ways to take part in the tailgating experience. The Argent Pavilion is host to the Louisiana Tech Alumni Association Tailgate. They usually have a great offering of food and drinks, and it’s a prime spot to catch up with former classmates. There is also plenty of group and corporate tailgating that takes place in Bulldog Village adjacent to the Argent Pavilion. Most tailgaters will welcome any friendly fan. Setting up your own tailgate is another option and is allowed in all four parking lots (A, B, C, D) around Joe Aillet Stadium, the grass areas surrounding Joe Aillet Stadium, and the Thomas Assembly Center (including Garland Gregory Hideaway Park). RV spaces are available for guests attending football games. Contact the LTAC and Alumni Association office (318-255-7950) for more information.
Activities: There are plenty of pre-game activities to match any interest. Bulldog Village (opens 3 hours prior to kick-off), located next to the Argent Pavilion, has live music on the Experience Ruston Stage, the Ruston Brick Kids Zone, Trenton Dental Fan Photos, interaction with LA Tech student-athletes, and more. The “Walk of Pride” (taking place 2 hours prior to kick-off) has become a Tech tradition. The band plays in front of the Argent Pavilion and then leads the Bulldog football team through the crowd of cheering fans on their way to the locker room. All fans are encouraged to head to the stadium 30 minutes prior to kickoff to not miss any of the pre-game entertainment.
Stadium: Joe Aillet Stadium has been home to Louisiana Tech football for the past 50-plus years. Since opening in 1968 at a capacity of 23,000, it has seen many changes and updates. The most recent update being the addition of the Davison Athletics Complex and the new press box and guest suite facility, bringing the stadium capacity to 28,019. New turf, called FieldTurf Mono, has recently been installed. It offers some of the most vibrant colors and great cushion and safety for the players. As you walk around the outside of the stadium, make sure you notice the stadium banners honoring Terry Bradshaw, Willie Roaf, Fred Dean, Joe Aillet, and Maxie Lambright, some of Tech Football’s most successful alumni. For a stadium seating chart click here.
Concessions: Concessions are located in six convenient areas on both the east and west sides of the stadium, with many new vendors added and the usual favorites of Johnny’s Pizza, McCallisters Deli, and Chic-Fil-A. Alcoholic beverages are only allowed within the Club Level of the Davison Athletics Complex and the Suites.
Video Board: The addition of the video board in the North End zone has brought a new definition to the full game experience and provides the fans with instant replay and great intro videos, as well as some pretty neat fan interactions.
Where to Stay: Any of Ruston’s area hotels are the logical choice, of course. All are located within 8 minutes of the stadium. However, as with most college towns, hotels near campus tend to be very busy and often full on the weekends of home games. The good news is there are some great alternatives that are very convenient: TDR Home Rental and The Cottage, as well as the RV and camping sites at the beautiful Lincoln Parish Park. And of course, you could always try to bum a stay from family or friends!
Where to eat and drink: While you have plenty of tasty options for tailgate foods on game day, if you are anything like us, you will want to make it a full weekend of food and football. After the game, you might be ready for another snack and a few beverages while catching the late west coast games on TV. For this, we would recommend Dawg House Sports Grill or a few of the downtown restaurants. After you sleep in a little and before you get sucked into the noon Saints game, we suggest trying out the Sunday Brunch at Beau Vines Steakhouse. These two are just a few of the many great culinary options in Ruston, so visit our website or view our dining guide for more restaurant profiles.
Beat the crowd. Arrive 3-5 hours before kickoff to avoid traffic, have more access to parking and have first pick on certain tailgating spots. And remember, if you don’t want to miss any of the official pre-game entertainment, make sure you are in the stadium 30 minutes prior to kickoff!
Clean up before kickoff. Bring your own trash bags and water down hot coals before heading to the stadium. Please respect LA Tech and its campus.
First aid is available for fans at Joe Aillet Stadium. On the West Concourse (press box side), the First Aid Station is located at the base of the elevator shaft. On the East Concourse, an ambulance or First Aid tent will be located next to the Police Mobile Command Center outside the gates. Contact an usher if you have an emergency. On the North Side, an ambulance will be parked next to the videoboard on the north of the stadium.
Don't drink and drive. Give up the keys. If alcoholic drinks get the best of you, make sure someone sober takes the wheel, or better yet use local ride-sharing service EZ-RYDR. The service had a preferred pick up/drop off location located next to the Experience Ruston music stage in Bulldog Village.
One last thing! Do you have your tickets yet? Purchase here!