October 30, 2014 10:09:04 PM
STARKVILLE - The weather forecast calls for temperatures reaching as low as 36 degrees during Mississippi State's Saturday night home game against Arkansas.
But come the fourth quarter, few fans in Davis Wade Stadium will care. As the Bulldogs and Razorbacks begin making their preparations for the fourth quarter, the stadium speakers will start blasting a familiar tune, fans will start swaying, cowbells will rhythmically sync up with the music, and everyone in attendance will starting believing when Journey's iconic 1981 hit "Don't Stop Believin" is played, as has become tradition at MSU home games this season.
It's a tradition that began in MSU's season opener against Southern Miss and it has gained steam with each passing home game, as Journey's hit has become a staple, an event looked forward to by Bulldogs' fans.
And it's all thanks to MSU head coach Dan Mullen.
No, not because he has turned MSU's football program into the No. 1 team in the country, but because over the summer, he approached the MSU Marketing Department with an idea.
"It was all Coach Mullen's idea," said Leah Beasley, MSU's Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing. "He came to the marketing department this summer and mentioned that a few places he had been at would play a certain song that fans could embrace as a tradition, a song that fans would enjoy and would get the crowd going. We chose that song because everybody loves it, it had every element that Coach Mullen wanted. He's a big fan of 80's music so he liked the choice."
MSU fans have welcomed the new tradition with open arms, singing along each week faithfully. And it isn't only the young.
"It's a great song for that moment because students love it and our more mature fans love it, too," said Beasley.
The song's momentum has been aided by MSU's play on the field. After a pair of non-conference wins over Southern Miss and UAB to start the season, the Bulldogs went to LSU on Sept. 20 and won for the first time since 1991. That set up two huge home games in early October, the first a 48-31 win over Texas A&M and the second a 38-23 win over then-No. 2 Auburn. Both games had capacity crowds that stayed until the end and both games featured energetic singalongs with Journey.
MSU's players have noticed.
"Oh, man. I love that song," said MSU defensive end Preston Smith. "When it comes on, it gets the whole stadium going. It's a great energy, I love it. I think I was out there in the Auburn game doing a drum solo."