Over 56,000 tickets sold for Saturday matchup with FSU

 With over 10,000 student tickets already requested, USF aims to fill its 12,501-seat student section to the brim Saturday. ORACLE PHOTO/JACOB HOAG

With arguably one of USF’s biggest tests in No. 13 Florida State coming to Raymond James Stadium on Saturday, it’s no surprise that one of the biggest crowds in USF history is set to attend. 

When the ‘Noles set for a noon showdown with the Bulls, a crowd surging close to capacity is anticipated, with over 56,000 tickets already sold, according to USF.

Among those tickets distributed, USF has fielded over 10,000 student ticket request — including guest tickets — for the game. When USF opens up its auxiliary student section in the 300-level, it has the potential to hold 12,501 students, but doesn’t plan on stopping there if the requests keep pouring in.

USF has hosted nine home crowds over 56,000 in its 20-year history, including FSU’s last visit to Tampa in 2012, when USF drew its largest crowd of 69,383.

“I hear it’s going to be packed,” USF coach Willie Taggart said. “I’m sure it’s going to be loud and I’m sure I’m going to see a lot of green and gold in Ray Jay and I’m going to be excited for each and every last one of them. “

This will be the largest home crowd most Bulls have seen in their time at USF, but it adds more fire to an already much-anticipated matchup.

Senior linebacker Nigel Harris, who missed last year’s game against the ‘Noles due to a suspension, said it adds “ a lot more juice” to the game.

“It’s gonna be great,” Harris said at Wednesday’s practice. “That’s what you sign up for college football for.”

Among the nearly 10,000 students projected to attend the game is freshman statistics major William Statzer, who is looking to begin tailgating at 6:30 a.m. in preparation for the early kickoff.

Others, like freshman pre-med student Daniel Mora are heading out at 6:30 a.m. in hopes of good seats near the field.

Taggart, who’s all for the early tailgating, is implementing a new rule for Saturday.

“We don’t need anyone getting in late so tailgate starts at 7 and tailgating is closing at 11, new rule this week,” Taggart said Tuesday at his weekly press conference. “New rule we’re going to make: you can’t walk around up in that area up in RayJay, you have to come sit in your seats.”

With a nearly packed stadium and a top-15 team coming in the building on national TV (ABC), USF is ready to show the college football world that it can hang with the big guys.

“When the spotlight comes on, I believe that this USF team will show out,” Harris said.