Ten years ago, SMU celebrated its first Boulevard and a brand-new Gerald J. Ford Stadium on September 2, 2000, when a sellout crowd watched the Mustangs beat Kansas. In appreciation of those 10 years, we’re spotlighting a few of the dedicated fans who fill the Ford season after season.
Ryley Clem, a senior economics and political science major in Dedman College, has attended almost every home game since his first year at SMU. Before the SMU-TCU game September 24, he launched a “Red Out” Facebook group, urging the more than 2,800 who joined to “Be loud, wear red.”
Clem can be found on the front row of the student section on the northeast corner of the field, occasionally standing up on the ledge of the wall to lead chants and shout “SMU first down!” as the Mustangs drive for scores. He also is a regular fixture on the Boulevard. Read more below.
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Clem’s game day: “I’ve got a pretty solid routine. For a 7 p.m. Saturday game, I’ll usually wake up around 8:30 or 9 a.m., go over to a buddy’s house, watch the early games on TV, talk about the SMU game and do a pre-tailgate.
“Then around 3 or 3:30, I make it over to the Boulevard. I’m always the first in our tent to get there. I love the Boulevard atmosphere. About 6 p.m. we’ll start heading over to the Ford.”
A favorite experience: “The band really makes Ford great. Watching the students get pumped up – whoever is leading cheers – and seeing people cheering in unison for SMU is awesome. They’re building an atmosphere where the crowd helps the football team win games.”
On the Boulevard: “The Boulevard brings everybody together, thousands of people. Everybody’s excited for the game, and everyone has on their SMU clothes. Without the Boulevard, it would not be the same.”
Changes he’s seen: “There have been a lot more people painting their chests and doing crazy full-body suits. The student section is getting bigger, getting louder and getting into games. I see a big difference in Ford this year. And I do see it continuing, especially if we keep winning.”
– Chris Dell ’11