Any Northwestern students, alumni, faculty, staff or fans who participated in Homecoming 2013 festivities would agree that it was one of the most exciting weekends on campus in a very long time. With two ESPN sports shows broadcasting live from campus and a night game at Ryan Field between the No. 16 Wildcats and the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes, the Purple Pride and football buzz on campus far exceeded anything Northwestern had previously experienced at Homecoming, making the annual parade, pep rally and alumni reunion events extra special for the hundreds of alumni who returned to campus.
The excitement reached its pre-game pinnacle Saturday morning, when ESPN’s College GameDay went on the air live from the Evanston campus lakefront. Swooping overhead camera shots showed television audiences the scope of diehard school spirit exhibited by ‘Cats fans, as throngs of purple-clad people had lined up at 4 a.m. to get a prime spot near the show’s elaborate lakefront stage and set. Wildcat fans crafted clever signs–a staple of College GameDay broadcasts–and USA Today quickly proclaimed NU’s signage as “the best week so far.” See more photos from the GameDay experience and watch the video below to witness the sea of purple that assembled for the occasion.
The game time atmosphere at Ryan Field was electric on Saturday night, and not just because a massive thunderstorm had blown through in the hours leading up to kickoff. A sell out crowd of NU and OSU fans were pumped for the prime time matchup that was broadcast nationally on ABC. Both teams played hard, and the ‘Cats held their own for the majority of the heart-pounding game, but a few bad breaks in the fourth quarter ensured victory for OSU.
The Wildcats and their fans had nothing to be ashamed of, however, as the team proved its mettle against the powerful and still-undefeated Buckeyes. Relive the excitement of the game with NU Sports’ storify recap of social media posts from the game. The ‘Cats will look to win their first Big Ten game next weekend at Wisconsin, which will be broadcast on ESPN2 and regionally on ABC at 2:30 p.m. CT.
Check out our coverage of the rest of the weekend’s Homecoming festivities by following the links below.