This past weekend, the Auburn Tigers suffered their first football loss on the road at the hands of the Louisiana State Tigers. Auburn has not faced LSU in Death Valley since 2011, when LSU went on to win the SEC Championship and ultimately a trip to the National Championship, where they fell to The University of Alabama.
Out of the 92,524 seats in Tiger Stadium, the eighth largest in terms of seating capacity in the NCAA, a few hundred of those seats were occupied by members of the Auburn Family. Two of those were students who gave their account of visiting Cajun Country.
Haley Bradford traveled to Baton Rouge with the team’s sports medicine staff. Because of her job, she was unable to experience the nightlife and tailgating that LSU had to offer.
“We had some time to explore,” she said. “We went to their downtown area and walked around the campus.”
Sophomore Jennifer Rudder also made the six-hour drive to Baton Rouge to cheer on the Tigers. Rudder shared some similarities with Bradford, but since she wasn’t with the team, she was able to experience more of the culture.
“We went to some fraternity parties and popular bars,” Rudder said. “I have a friend there who told us what was going on that night.”
Mother Nature proved not to be an Auburn fan that night as she brought rain in to Baton Rouge throughout all four quarters of the game.
“I braved it like a champ,” Bradford said. “But after the first quarter I took off my rain jacket and just embraced the fact that staying dry wasn’t going to happen.”
There is no hiding the fact that LSU and Auburn are bitter rivals and meetings between teams with passionate fans can get heated. To add to that, it’s no secret that the fans of LSU don’t have the best reputation of being friendly.
“Personally, I was a little shocked at how some of them behaved,” Bradford said. “Most seemed to have no respect for visitors, which wasn't what I expected at all. I’d compare them to Alabama fans.”
Rudder had the same to say about fans of the home team. “They were definitely not the most welcoming. They probably would have been worse if we had won, but you always have to expect that when you travel.”
Bradford went on to say that she felt that if she had been there just visiting a friend and not for a football game the fans would have been more hospitable.
While many Auburn fans claim that Baton Rouge smells of corn dogs, Bradford claimed it smelled like “great Cajun food 99% of the time.” Rudder disagreed, adding, “It smelled worse [than corn dogs].”
Despite the taunting and smell, neither student regrets their visit, with Bradford adding, “Had a great time. War Eagle always,” and Rudder following with “Over all it was a great trip.”