■ What’s it like to play in one of the big­gest sta­di­ums in the coun­try? Staff pho­tog­ra­pher Louis DeLuca went be­hind the scenes in Ann Arbor.

The Dallas Morning News - - Sportsday - Story and pho­tos by LOUIS DeLUCA/Staff Pho­tog­ra­pher

“The Big House” is the foot­ball sta­dium for the Univer­sity of Michi­gan in Ann Arbor, and it is a must see for any col­lege foot­ball fan. The SMU Mus­tangs paid a visit to the fa­mous struc­ture Satur­day, and for most of the play­ers and coaches on the squad, it was the big­gest crowd they will ever ap­pear in front of — the sta­dium seats more than 107,000.

As a vet­eran of 40 years in news pho­tog­ra­phy, I have cov­ered count­less col­lege foot­ball games, but never a Michi­gan game in “The Big House.” So when the 2018 SMU sched­ule came out show­ing the Ponies were play­ing there, it be­came im­por­tant to me to pitch a trip to the north to cover the game for The News.

The thought was to try and give the reader an in­side view of what it is like to play a game in such a his­toric, cel­e­brated struc­ture against a topech­e­lon team. The SMU staff and new head coach Sonny Dykes granted us in­side ac­cess to doc­u­ment their ap­pear­ance at “The Big House.” It was a mem­o­rable ex­pe­ri­ence for all.

At far left, SMU play­ers head down the tun­nel for pregame warm-up in the mas­sive sta­dium, which even­tu­ally was filled be­yond ca­pac­ity with Wolver­ines faith­ful (above). At left, SMU coach Sonny Dykes speaks to his team in the locker room be­fore the game.

With the packed grand­stands pro­vid­ing a back­drop, SMU play­ers, in­clud­ing safety Brice Madi­son (point­ing) and quar­ter­back Derek Green (red cap), watch a re­play on the video board dur­ing the first quar­ter. At­ten­dance was an­nounced as 110,549.

In a quiet mo­ment be­fore the leg­endary Michi­gan throng be­gan fil­ing in, SMU play­ers gath­ered at mid­field to pray Satur­day.

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