April 22, 2013
By Charles Goldberg
AUBURN — Auburn fans couldn't pass up a chance to get a sneak peek at Gus Malzahn's offense and say farewell to the oaks at Toomer's Corner over the weekend, two facts that helped the school set an A-Day Game attendance record that is tops in the nation this year.
A school-record crowd of 83,401 watched the annual spring football game in Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday. The attendance topped the 13 other Southeastern Conference schools, and everybody else, for that matter, according to SBNation.com.
SEC teams claim seven of the top nine top crowds at spring games so far in 2013. A handful of other top national schools have yet to play their spring games.
It was a perfect storm for a big attendance in Auburn. Fans are buoyed by Malzahn's return. And thousands wanted to roll the oaks at Toomer's Corner one last time after the game. The dying oaks will be removed Tuesday.
The large attendance at the game had Auburn officials opening the upper decks after the game began to accommodate all the fans.
"The Auburn fans are an example of how we bounce back," said Athletics Director Jay Jacobs on Sunday after the eventful weekend.
The record crowd impressed players and coaches alike.
"Just to see the fans' confidence in us that we're going to bounce back and have a good team, that gives us confidence," said quarterback Kiehl Frazier after the game.
"It was awesome," said defensive lineman Nosa Eguae. "When there's 84,000 strong for a spring game, I definitely makes you want to come out and put on your best performance."
Malzahn thanked the faithful.
"Auburn fans had a tough year last year. For them to come out and support our team, that's overwhelming from a coach's standpoint," Malzahn said. "And I know our players, they had big eyes and they really appreciated it."
The fans really began rolling Toomer's Corner before the game and during the game and certainly after the game following a formal ceremony.
"That's my favorite moment because it represents the Auburn family. The Auburn family always bounces back, and we will this time," Jacobs said.
2013 spring football attendance
(from SBNation.com and USA Today)
Texas A&M 45,212
Ohio State 37,643
South Carolina 35,218
Notre Dame 31,652
Virginia Tech 30,000
Ole Miss 28,000
Penn State 28,000
Florida State 27,500
N.C. State 27,500
Michigan St 22,500
Mississippi St 21,000
Texas Tech 16,116
Iowa State 15,000
N. Carolina 15,000
Oklahoma St 15,000