SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Missouri State played Central Arkansas Saturday night in it’s home opener of the 2021 Football season. Robert W. Plaster Stadium is operating at full capacity.

“I didn’t think it would take two years to get here,” said Henry Pratt Jr., former MSU linebacker.

Some have been cheering on MSU for quite some time.

“I came to MSU games as a child,” said Jim Gallon a current student at MSU. “I’m currently a MSU 62 student so I have to come and support my college.”

MSU started its Football Season September 4 at Oklahoma State University.

Last year, there was one home night game, which was the Homecoming game against Central Arkansas. MSU limited capacity at Plaster Stadium to 6,000 fans in 2020. The stadium can hold 17,500 fans. Fans were required to wear masks in-doors. MSU encouraged fans to wear their masks outside in their seats. There was no also no tailgating allowed in BearFest Village.

This year masks are not required and even tailgating has made a comeback.

“The pre-game, I mean look at all this, it’s awesome,” said Alan Roi. “Just the comradery, throwing bags, eating food.”

But, supporting the team is more than just showing up.

“A football team is only as good as it’s fans,” said Pratt. “So, it’s very important that the fans come out and take care of this football team and this university.”

“We need to fill it up,” said Gallon. “We need to make some noise.”

“I’m really hoping that they win so we can have a big celebration,” said Audrey Howard, MSU fan.

Masking and social distancing is encouraged at in-door spaces. Fans can also participate in tailgating this year in BearFest Village.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, free admission was given to active military, fire, police, ambulance and hospital workers.