Fired up, watered down: Students and alumni enjoy pregame tailgating and parade despite weather
Despite rainy weather and overcast skies, thousands gathered to watch the annual Central Michgian University Homecoming Day Parade, followed by tailgating in the parking lots around Kelly/Shorts Stadium.
The two-mile cavalcade for the parade started at 11 a.m. in lot 22 on CMU's campus and concluded at Sacred Heart Church in downtown Mount Pleasant.
Grand marshals for the parade were 2010 alumna Katie Travis of Bay City and 1970 alumnus Mike O'Donnell, a member of CMU's Advancement Board.
Margo Light, a fifth-year senior from Durand, attended the parade to show her CMU spirit one last time as an undergraduate student.
"I'm just trying to do it all this year," she said. "I love homecoming and everything about CMU. The parade is always so good, especially this year."
Tailgating took place in the parking lots at the south end of campus starting at 11:30 a.m. four hours prior to the kickoff for the CMU-Toledo football game.
Alumni Village opened at 12:30 p.m. near the Rose Pond area, which featured tents dedicated to individual colleges as well as a 50th Anniversary tent for alumni from the classes of 1960 to 1967. This year marked the first time Alumni Village featured designated tents for "affinity" groups such as Greek Life, LGBTQ services, Central Michigan Life and Sexual Aggression Peer Advocates, said Alumni Relations Director Marcie Otteman.
Kari Ziegler, a former management major and 1984 alumna, also took the time to visit Alumni Village. Ziegler has been attending Homecoming Weekend tailgating festivities for the past 25 years, usually with a group of 30 to 70 old friends, many from the College of Business Administration.
"(This was) another good turnout," Ziegler said. "CMU continues to be my favorite place on Earth. It's always a great time to come back, but there's no better time to come back than Homecoming Weekend."
Attendees of Alumni Village also got a chance to witness more than 40 teams of student engineers compete in the 20th annual Cardboard Boat Race.
At the annual Rock Rally event held the day before Homecoming, junior Caroline Murray and senior Jason Hall were chosen as this year's Gold Ambassadors.
While the Central Michigan football team struggled to get anything going on offense, the Toledo Rockets ran up and down the field Kelly/Shorts Stadium Saturday during the 30-10 defeat on homecoming.
The defeat marked the eighth-straight loss to Toledo and ended the Chippewas three-game winning streak on homecoming.
CMU falls to 3-4 on the season and 1-2 in the Mid-American Conference.
“It’s really hard to make it to the MAC Championship game when you lose two games in this conference. That is just the fact of it,” said head coach John Bonamego. “We have to regroup quick and don’t have room for error.”
The Rockets ran for 292 yards as a team, while the Chippewas mustered only 69 on the ground.
Even with the rain pouring down, Central Michigan refused to abandon its passing game.
Graduate transfer quarterback Shane Morris completed only 17-of-37 passes for 182 yards and had two interceptions. CMU’s lone touchdown came late in the game as Morris found senior tight end Tyler Conklin for a 26-yard score.
The Chippewas travel to Ball State next Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m.
Central Michigan then heads to rival Western Michigan on Wednesday, Nov. 1.