Bjork, Taggart encourage fans to sell out Smith Stadium this Saturday


Brad Stephens

Fans charged the Smith Stadium field two weeks ago

when WKU snapped an 18-game home losing streak.

Athletics Director Ross Bjork

challenged 22,113 fans to be in the same stadium at 3 p.m. Saturday

when the Toppers play Florida International.

Bjork sent an open letter to Topper fans Monday,

encouraging them to fill Smith Stadium’s seating capacity when WKU

plays FIU.

The letter included the numbers “22,113” before all

nine paragraphs and listed statistics outlining population figures

for Bowling Green and the surrounding areas. 

“We are challenging all of you in Hilltopper Nation

to fill this stadium Saturday!” the letter read. “We cannot do it

alone, and this team needs you to be here wearing your WKU red and

cheering on the Hilltoppers.”

Smith Stadium hasn’t sold out since 22,297 fans

showed up for the Toppers’ 50-9 win over Murray State on Sept. 20,

2008 — the first game played after extensive stadium


The highest attendance figure since then was the

20,772 fans on hand to watch WKU fall 38-21 to Indiana last Sept.

18 in Taggart’s home head coaching debut.

WKU has averaged 15,284 fans for its four home games

this season.

But Bjork said circumstances surrounding this

Saturday’s game have made a sellout realistic.

The Toppers are running on four consecutive wins

after beating Louisiana-Monroe 31-28 Saturday.

The streak, WKU’s longest since 2005, has the team

sitting at 4-4 overall and 4-1 in Sun Belt Conference play.

Meanwhile the Toppers’ opponent, FIU, was the

preseason league favorite and has already notched a win in the

state of Kentucky this year, a 24-17 road win over Louisville.

“This is the biggest game in program history, or at

least since we’ve been in the Football Bowl Subdivision,” Bjork

said Monday. “Players and coaches will approach it like it’s just

another game, but our fans need to be there.”

Saturday will also be Fan Appreciation Day in Smith

Stadium. Fans can purchase tickets for $6 and hot dogs and Pepsi

drinks for $1.

Taggart called the FIU game a “great opportunity” for

both his team and WKU fans.

“There’s 23,000 in that stadium,” he said. “There’s

no reason not to sell it out, especially when you’re winning.”

In addition to sending the open letter, Bjork started

a #22113 Twitter campaign Saturday night after the win, which has

since been changed to #wku22113.

Since then he, Taggart and other

athletic department representatives have been encouraging social

media followers to help WKU sell out the stadium. 

Taggart said he wants the community not just to show

up Saturday, but to be loud and involved in the game while


“When FIU is on third down, I want them to go crazy,”

Taggart said. “That’s how they can help this football team.

“I want people to do crazy things, say crazy things,

just be loud.”

After saying that, Taggart then turned directly

toward television cameras and pleaded with WKU fans to come to

Saturday’s game.

“I’m here to say it right now, Hilltopper nation,

come to this game. Help us out,” Taggart said. “Third down, please,

make some noise. It will help, it will help, and we need it this