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Football: What’s new for football fans at UL’s home opener?

Kristin Askelson, The Advertiser, Sept. 2, 2016

The Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns will get the 2016 football season kicked off early Saturday when they take on Boise State at 11 a.m.

If you want to enjoy the traditional Cajun Walk, you’d better get up even earlier. It’s scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Gates at Cajun Field will be opened for fans at 9:30.

Even the pregame tailgate concert has a breakfast theme: the band, appropriately, is called Bag of Donuts.

Here are a few other things to know about game day.

TAILGATING, RV CHANGES

If you have a tailgating spot, you need to set up on Friday beginning at 2 p.m. Friday. p.m. RV set up will begin at 5 p.m. Friday. All fans are encouraged to set up tents and bring in heavy equipment on Friday to minimize set up time on Saturday. RV’s, trailers, and passenger vehicles that fit within your tailgating spot, are allowed for setup, and can remain during the game. Reinhardt Drive will close prior to the Cajun Walk at approximately 8:15 am. Reinhardt Drive will remain closed to all vehicle traffic after that time. At this point, there can be no vehicle movement in tailgating areas.

Ragin Cajuns Lager will debut Sept. 3

Ragin Cajuns Lager will debut Sept. 3  (Photo: Submitted photo)

NEW SPIRITS

Last year, UL and Bayou Teche Brewing made brewing history when they released the first officially licensed collegiate beer in the United States — Ragin’ Cajuns Genuine Louisiana Ale.

Beer drinkers, devoted fans and UL alumni have been drinking A LOT of this beer. Meanwhile, Bayou Teche Brewing, UL and Schilling Schilling Distributors have been clandestinely crafting a second Ragin’ Cajuns recipe.  Called Ragin’ Cajuns Genuine Louisiana Lager, this new beer is a Creole-inspired Cerveza brewed with local honey. It will be introduced on tap at Saturday’s game and will later be available in bottles an on store shelves.

FOR THE YOUNGEST FANS

The Cajuns are offering young fans a new opportunity to have fun on the field. Before each home game, kids will get the opportunity to run the length of the playing field and score a touchdown just before the band and the team do their own run out.

“We are always looking for ways to enhance the already great environment at our home games — especially when it allows families and children to become more involved in the actual event, Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs Rob Stewart said.   “This is why we are excited about adding the Cajuns Kids Dash into the pre-game experience at Cajun Field. Kids now have the opportunity to come through the tunnel, run across the field and score a touchdown! “

Kids should meet at the south end zone gate 30 to 45 minutes before kickoff. Parents with children 6 and younger will be able to escort their child while they dash. At the end of the run, children will exit the field onto the grassy hill in the north end zone (stairs will be provided.) The first 100 kids to line up will get a free T-shirt for participating.

The new victory bell hangs in the south end zone at

The new victory bell hangs in the south end zone at Cajun Field.  (Photo: Doug Dugas/UL)

RINGING IN THE NEW SEASON

A 3,000-lb. victory bell, which hangs in a tower at the recently expanded south end zone of Cajun Field, will ring for all Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns’ home, away and postseason wins. It will also peal at Commencement each fall, spring and summer to acknowledge graduates’ academic success.

“It’s a fun way to celebrate success. In today’s high-tech world, it’s a throwback to a simpler time when a bell was used to announce an event to a community,” said Dr. Joseph Savoie, president of UL Lafayette. “We hope that this traditional way of letting people know of our victories will promote pride in the University.”

The victory bell will ring for five minutes for all home, away and postseason victories, 10 minutes for conference championships and graduations, and 15 minutes for individual and team NCAA national championships