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ECU students among those getting ready for start of football season

GREENVILLE, Pitt County - There aren't any fans at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium now, but East Carolina University's football stadium will be packed Saturday evening for the Pirates' season opener.

Students say it's the most wonderful time of the year between school starting and the ECU football season about to begin. "It's awesome just walking through campus and seeing your friends and being able to hang out with everyone," ECU junior Ashley Lynn said. "Then you go to tailgates and you get to see everyone there and you go to the game." Just how big is tailgating here? "Tailgates everywhere for miles. Actually. Anywhere ... they will tailgate. Elementary schools, side of the road, anywhere. So much fun," said student Nicole Ferraro. If you're planning on tailgating, parking lots will open at noon, six hours before the kickoff with James Madison. ECU Police say if you're not going to the game, try to steer clear of 14th Street between Elm Street and Charles Boulevard and College Hill Road from 10th to 14th streets since they'll be shutting down these areas prior to the game. "We want to be the safest stadium that a fan can come to and enjoy a football game," said Chris Sutton, ECU Police spokesperson. If you're a student, Sutton said you should get to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium at least an hour before game time to secure a spot in the student section. "State game we got there very early," Ferraro said. "But that's because we had to get a good seat, you know? But usually we're like 15 minutes, we gotta go." Since it may rain, keep in mind umbrellas are not allowed. Ponchos and raincoats are acceptable. But rain won't be a problem for some students. "Everyone goes to the game, especially the first game," Lynn said. "It's always fun. Even with rain, I can guarantee you'll see a full stadium." The forecast calls for rain and Sutton said they're expecting about 45,000 for the game on Saturday at 6 p.m.

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