SEC, Nebraska lead 2013 Spring game attendance

SEC, Nebraska lead 2013 Spring game attendance

[dropcap]N[/dropcap]ebraska entered the weekend with the highest spring game attendance of 2013, as 60,174 fans watched the Red-White game two weeks ago.

More than 83,000 turned out to watch Gus Malzahn take the sidelines as Auburn's head coach.

More than 83,000 turned out to watch Gus Malzahn take the sidelines as Auburn’s head coach.

But with games at SEC heavy hitters Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee playing their games today, it was just a matter of time before that title fell.

Though none of those games had a moment to touch Jack Hoffman’s inspirational 69-yard touchdown run, the three SEC heavyweights had higher attendance.

Auburn led the way with 83,401 on hand to watch first-year head coach Gus Malzahn’s squad.

A post game celebration that gave fans one last chance to roll the iconic Toomer’s oak trees (scheduled for removal on Tuesday), the excitement of a new coaching staff and a renewed appreciation for the team in the wake of last season’s 3-9 disaster fueled an electric energy on the Plains.

“It’s kind of overwhelming,” Malzahn said. “Hat’s off to our fans. I know that meant unbelievable amounts to our players and coaches. That’s what really stood out to me.”

The dawn of a new era also fueled a near-record crowd at Tennessee.

In his short time in Knoxville, Butch Jones has done a textbook job of uniting the fan base and reconnecting former players with the program. That hard work paid off as a crowd of 61,076 turned out, the second-highest spring game attendance total in school history. Perhaps even more impressive is the fact that an estimated 500 former Vol players showed up.

“I would truly like to thank all of our great supporters,” Jones said. “Having 61,000-plus fans in attendance today is what makes this the best place in all of college football. The message is loud and clear: There is no other place in the country like Tennessee.”

Huge spring game turnouts are the norm at Alabama, where 78,315 turned out to watch a game that Nick Saban described as “sloppy.”

Naturally, he gave a very Saban-esque evaluation of his team’s performance.

“I am not disappointed with where we are, and I don’t want anyone to think that,” Saban said. “But I am not satisfied.”

Arkansas (51,088) topped its goal of 50,000 fans to watch Bret Bielema make his first appearance on the sidelines for the Razorbacks, while Kentucky destroyed its previous spring game record of less than 30,000, as 50,831 turned out to get a glimpse Mark Stoops’ team.

Of the top five, only Auburn ($5) and Nebraska ($10) charged admission.

Ohio State led 2012 spring game attendance as 81,112 watched Urban Meyer lead the Buckeyes for the first time. This year’s game was played at the Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati due to reconstruction being done at Ohio Stadium as 37,643 looked on.

Below is a look at the Top 10 in spring game attendance for 2013:

School Attendance
1. Auburn 83,401
2. Alabama 78,315
3. Tennessee 61,076
4. Nebraska 60,174
5. Arkansas 51,088
6. Kentucky 50,831
7. Texas 46,000
8. Texas A&M 45,212
9. Georgia 45,113
10. Ohio State 37,643

Photo credit: Auburn Media Relations / Todd Van Emst

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