For the fortunate few, they never have to take the trip to Laramie. The silver lining is that at the most you only have to go twice. I had the opportunity to go to Laramie my sophomore and senior year and it was quite different each time. Here is my account on what it is like to play the Pokes in War Memorial Stadium…In 2005 I was a sophomore outside linbacker. I remember hearing all the horror stories about going to Laramie and having to stay in a dumpy hotel and that the place was just a frozen tundra with nothing around. That friday night, November 11th, was my birthday, and I was so looking forward to spending it with the Pokes. Truth is, nobody or nothing could have prepared me for what I was going to experience. There are no hotels in Laramie, so you have to stay at this little truck stop off the highway. When we pulled in I was thinking, “Yeah its a bit shabby, but its not too bad.” Then I went to our room on the 2nd floor. The staircase is on the outside and it was a bit chilly as there was a night time breeze. When I got to the room with my roommate, Kayle Buchanan we promptly turned on the heater. In an instant our room was filled with dirt. Yes, the heater blew dirt all through the room. I am still mystified as to how dirt got into the heater on the 2nd floor, but as I recall we were not the only room to have this problem. In fact it was more the rule than the exception.
On Saturday morning we woke up to go to breakfast only to see that the wind was howling and blowing the snow completely sideways. It was not a heavy snow, but it was very windy and a bit odd. We had our walkthrough in back of the motel and you could not hear a word people were saying because you were trying to be bundled up in your warm up suit, and the wind was just howling!
The wind did not die down for the game either. In pre-game it was just miserable. I can remember John Beck not being able to throw the ball more than about 15 yards dead into it. When we came back out for the 1st quarter, things seemed to be a little better. Not as much wind and the temperature was feeling good…and then the sun went down. I have never been so cold in my life. I can remember a specific play in the 2nd quarter… I was running, “Backer” which is a blitz off the edge and as I lined up to rush my legs just started to shake uncontrollably and I just had this pain shooting through them. After the play I came running off the field and Coach Tidwell said, “What are you doing? Why aren’t you in there?” I said, “Coach my legs are so cold, I can’t move them and they just kill.” He looked at me like I was crazy, but it was the truth…I could not run. I went and stood by the heaters on the sideline to thaw out, and at halftime put on all the long stuff I could find.
My final memory on that game was that on November 12th, game day it was Justin Luettgerodt’s birthday and recovered all 5 turnovers in the game! It was a fun game and I don’t really remember the fans being too crazy. But my parents who were sitting in the stands tell me otherwise!