Behind Enemy Lines: UNLV Students Watch the Game from Rival Student Section

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UNLV students cheer on the Rebels from the UNR student section on Oct. 14, 2023 at Mackay Stadium in Reno, Nev. Photo by Kalin Sipes.

Lone red shirts in a sea of blue could be seen in the University of Nevada Reno student section during the rivalry football game against the University of Nevada Las Vegas. On Oct. 14, the UNLV Rebels took on the UNR Wolfpack at Mackay Stadium in Reno, Nev. UNLV won the game 45-27 and kept the Fremont Cannon- the trophy that is passed in between the two schools.

Interstate rivalries are not uncommon among universities. Nevada is no exception. Other examples of interstate rivals include Ole Miss, who plays Mississippi State in the Battle for the Golden Egg, and University of Oklahoma, who plays Oklahoma State in the Bedlam Rivalry. Due to the reasonable proximity of the campuses, more fans from the opposing team may make the trip. Rivalry games can stir up many emotions in fans, especially when fans from both teams are there.

The UNLV band and cheer team made the trip to Reno, as did several students and alums.

While UNLV had a section of supporters, some UNLV students sat in the UNR student section. 

UNLV student Jared Nixon shares, “It was interesting. I feel like I probably shouldn’t have been there, but I enjoyed it a lot. Odds were against us, but I feel like it was mostly a good time. It’s really good we won because we would’ve looked really bad if we didn’t.”

Similarly, UNLV student Angelina Hernandez shared, “It was really fun, but also a little nerve racking. My cousin who goes to UNR was giving me a hard time about sitting in that section. He said, ‘You can’t go in with that UNLV jacket, so I wore a blue zip-up jacket and snuck in successfully. When I found my friends I took off my blue jacket and supported the Rebels.”

However, while UNLV students may have had a good experience despite being surrounded by opposing fans, UNR students were not thrilled about it.

“It’s a disgrace that we had room for those plebeians in our section. They should go back to the office park they call a campus and their rental stadium.” Said UNR Student Jacob Johnson. 

As the game neared an end, UNLV fans shared they felt the crowd turning against them more. 

Nixon said, “UNR fans threw licorice and a water bottle at me, I definitely wasn’t expecting that.”

UNLV students shared that they did not sit in this section to stir the pot but to reunite with friends or family members who attend UNR. However, this did not affect how the opposing team’s fans treated them.

“We had a couple people behind us who were yelling. They were telling us to go home and asking why we were there. My friend and I were trying to cross the street after the game and a car pulled up next to us yelling ‘F- UNLV’. I feel like that was unnecessary. If I had to do it again, I probably wouldn’t sit in the same spot,”Hernandez said.

UNLV fans were chanting “0 and 6,” and towards the end of the game, emotions rose between the two rival schools.A fight broke out in the student section near the end of the game,not between opposing fans but two UNR fans.

Rivalry games can bring out emotions in fans for better or worse. Infiltrating the UNR student section is a memory for some UNLV students to remember.

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