■ 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 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.