Illustrating school spirit

Pull up a couch and enjoy the game.SHSU’s couch potato section is back this season, ready for face-painted fans and La-Z-Boy sofas.During Saturday’s home game opener against Midwestern State, students in the couch potato section will have the opportunity for their picture to be in Sports Illustrated magazine to show off their Bearkat spirit.The couch potato section, located just behind the North end zone at Bowers Stadium, holds 500 fans, couches and a true college football environment.Sports Illustrated will be on location Saturday night to capture the atmosphere of the section on film for a special college football section.SI contacted SHSU sports information director Paul Ridings in July, and said SI was going to do a special section about college football involving fans, restaurants and other attractions. Ridings told the magazine about the couch potatoes; now SHSU has the opportunity to show the nation its Bearkat flare.The couch potato section gives the Bearkats special on-the-field support from their “ring side” seats. Students should purchase tickets for the couch potato section from Student Activities in LSC 328 as soon possible.Athletic director Bobby Williams said the section gives Kat players and fans a special bond.”It’s been great for students; it’s created a lot of enthusiasm,” Williams said. “It really catches the spirit of college football.”The section is limited to the first 500 students. Student Activities Director Carlton Green encouraged students to pick up their couch potato tickets early because of the tickets’ popularity.”The bottom line is, they go quickly,” Green said. “Students should get in as quickly as possible since they go so fast.”Last season, in its first year of existence, the couch potato section played a major role in getting the fans involved in the game. When the Kats played rival Stephen F. Austin, two different touchdowns got up close and personal with the “potatoes”.In the first quarter SHSU wide receiver Jonathon Cooper’s momentum carried him into the section on a touchdown pass from Josh McCown, and late in the second quarter, linebacker P.J. Traylor’s interception return for a score sent the section into an uproar.The couch potatoes also created an intimidating wall of noise for opposing offenses. Several teams who had the misfortune of being backed up or inside the 20-yard line had to contend with a combination of couch potato noise and a defense that led the Southland Conference in sacks.”I love it, especially when we’re defending the goal line,” junior linebacker DeJuan Davis said. “It gets loud down there. It works both ways, when they’re (opposing teams) going towards it or their back is to it. The quarterback can’t make his checks and it causes a lot of problems.Williams said it is important for the couch potato section be full Saturday to show Sports Illustrated, and the rest of the country, what SHSU football is like.”It’s nice to see the students having fun,” Williams said. “When the students have fun, the players want to have fun. When we scored some touchdown in that end zone last year, it was a lot more exciting than when we scored on the field house side.”

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