In a parking lot outside Apogee Stadium in Denton, the diehards showed up early Thursday. University of North Texas was scheduled to host Florida Atlantic in the final Mean Green home football game of the season.
Ryan Rutherford, a finance major who graduated in 2005, arrived with his friends at 11 a.m.
"On a normal Saturday game, we usually get here 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.," said Rutherford, a season ticket holder since 2011. "It's been a great time. We really enjoy ourselves out here. Apogee is a great place."
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Especially when the stadium is packed. UNT began its football season 4-0, but since then has gone 3-3. This season, attendance records have fallen -- twice. A late September game at Apogee against Louisianan Tech drew 30,105 fans. The Mean Green lost 29-27.
"When we get 28, 29,000 people in Apogee, it's a phenomenal environment," said Jared Mosley, UNT's deputy athletic director.
That's what the athletic department hoped for Thursday. To entice fans to a late kickoff, they offered free food and cheap beer. Fans received emails which included an excuse note, for missing work Friday. Athletic Director Wren Baker came up with the idea.
"He said, 'Let's have a little fun,'" Mosley said. "'Let's put together an excuse note we can blast, tell people, 'Hey, you can use this if it's going to be a late night.'' So I think people have enjoyed seeing that."
"Yeah, I got that in my email yesterday," laughed Rutherford. "I didn't really hand it over to my boss."
The Mean Green are bowl-bound. A prime-time win would make a successful season even sweeter.
"Yeah, it's gonna be a great time," he said. “No matter what."