COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The Ohio State Buckeyes played in the Shoe for the first time in 2023 for their annual spring game. Close to 75,000 fans came to campus to cheer on the football team.

During the exhibition, many young players take the field in the hopes of potentially securing regular season minutes for the season this fall. But it’s not just different for the players because tailgaters who are used to being miles away from the stadium can be so close, they almost touch the Shoe.

“Normally we cannot get in this lot so we love the Spring Game because if you leave early enough you can get in the Shoe lot and tailgate all day,” says OSU fan April Pollock.

The spring game is a unique experience compared to regular season games and Buckeye fans take advantage of it every year. Pollock and her son Declan have been to many past exhibitions. The best part for them is meeting some of the players once the scrimmage is over.

“So every year he brings his jersey and after the game a lot of the players, especially the freshmen and sophomores, go around the back and you can meet them, they’ll sign things,” says Pollock. “It’s great for them, they get to watch them through the years and follow their careers as they become bigger and play more.”

Declan and his friends say there are pros and cons to the scrimmage. They say it’s much easier to tailgate during the scrimmage, but there is nothing like seeing the stadium packed full of fans. But they say it is bound to be a good day anytime they are at the Shoe cheering on the Buckeyes.

The regular season gets underway on September 2 with a road trip to face Indiana. The first fall game in Columbus will be on Sept. 9 when the Buckeyes take on Youngstown State.