September 20th, 2008. That's the only time Houchens-Smith Stadium experienced a sellout crowd since the stadium expanded. At least until today. After an average home attendance of around 15,000 fans a game in 2011, the WKU Football program has done all it can to encourage fans to come out and support the team this year. The first game of the season brought a blowout win, but a disappointing crowd. After arguably the biggest win in the program's history, Saturday was a different story.
"Last weekend was truly one of the best times to be a Hilltopper. It's an honor to be a Hilltopper. I know being at the game with my little one, she was 4. She loved every minute of it." said Former WKU Player, Matt Ogden.
Many fans have endured some tough times with the program but now their patience is paying off.
"It seemed really promising when we made the transition. Seeing them come so close to winning, the fourth quarter meltdowns ... but seeing how far this program has come and seeing this program come so far these past few years, is really exciting." said WKU Alum Amber Peoples
"Being a former player and playing here at Western, and of course seeing what we've seen come to fruition with the football team, to where we were to where we are now ... It's a complete 180." added Ogden.
Students, parents, alumni, faculty , staff and fans made a statement today by coming out and supporting the Toppers in record numbers.
Junior Jonathan Caron couldn't believe the crowd Saturday afternoon.
"I mean this is a great atmosphere. I haven't seen it like this since I've been here. I came to a few games before i came to school here and this is what it used to be like, so it's nice to see it like that again."
"it feels exciting because there's a lot of energy and a lot of noise. It's just fun." said WKU Fan, Andrew Thurman.
And now, The Hilltoppers and the community finally have the support they need.
"I mean when we came out last year, it was hard to even see the student section full. To think that we could actually sellout today, it's a great feeling." commented Caron.
"Seeing it sellout? I remember the Murray State game, I was a Junior. It's been a long time. To see it come full circle, it's really exciting. added Peoples.