Any Southeastern Conference stadium has loud and unique qualities about it, but Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Mississippi is different than the rest for one reason — cowbells.
According to Mississippi State’s website, cowbells have been a school tradition since before World War II. They have even endured years of Southeastern Conference bans on artificial noisemakers.
The clanging reverberates throughout the stadium, certainly working to aggravate any team who walks into the stadium and LSU is the unlucky one this coming Saturday. Nowadays, fans are prohibited from ringing the bells “from the time the offensive center is over the football until the play is whistled dead,” according to SEC rules, but that won’t stop them from the clanging at any possible time.
Even senior quarterback Joe Burrow, who just joined the program last season and has never experienced the cowbells in Davis Wade, knows a little about them.
Well, well, well...how the turntables... pic.twitter.com/ATZnw4WFtv— Rivers Hughey (@RivsHughey) October 16, 2019
“Everybody tells me its the most annoying stadium to play at and the loudest stadium to play at because of those cowbells,” said junior tight end Thaddeus Moss. “I’m not looking forward to it, but I kind of want to see what it’s all about.”
It will be the Tigers first time in Starkville since a 37-7 loss in 2017 and that night sticks in the head of all those who remain on the team.
“We walked into a hornet’s nest two years ago and I didn’t have them ready,” Orgeron said. “That was one of the loudest stadiums we played in all year. Not only the cowbells, but the music, the fans were into it. Obviously they played lights out.”
LSU coach Ed Orgeron said they’ve been playing up the crowd noise — including “Who Let the Dogs Out” — all week at practice to prepare for the game.
Moss, who has not taken the trip to Starkville before, said they’re preparing for the worst and loudest atmosphere.
“I’ve never been to a stadium with artificial noise,” Moss said. “I’m going to go in there with the expectation that I’m not going to be able to hear anything at all. It’s going to be all verbal communication. Everybody talks about it and how loud it gets, so I’ll see when Saturday comes.”
Even after all the preparation, nothing compares to being in the stadium live.
“I hate it,” said junior defensive lineman Glen Logan . “It’s annoying, really annoying. I can’t really explain it. It’s like the most annoying noise ever. I can’t stand it. It’s like nails on a chalkboard. It’s so hard (to block out) because it just keeps on going.
“I could hear them (in my head) that whole next week. You’re going to remember games like that, and I was younger so it was a game to remember for me.”
Orgeron said the cowbells and the crowd noise were a big reason for the Tigers’ struggles the last time they traveled to Starkville and he believes they are more ready this time than last.
That being said, LSU is hoping the crowd doesn’t have the chance to use the cowbells for long anyway.
“After a while you block (the cowbells) out, because once you’re winning, ain’t no reason to do it,” Logan said.