COLUMBIA — The crowds went wild when Kirk Herbstreit walked across the MU campus in a jacket, button-up shirt and khaki shorts.
“Kirk, we love you,” fans yelled at the ESPN "GameDay" analyst.
The homecoming game against the University of Oklahoma doesn’t start until Saturday, but ESPN’s pregame show drew a crowd, including sign holders and cheerleaders, at 10:30 a.m. Friday.
The Golden Girls and Truman the Tiger led cheers on Francis Quadrangle. Sitting on the center stage was "GameDay" sideline reporter Erin Andrews. Whenever Andrews turned and waved at the crowd, fans shrieked. They booed when analyst Desmond Howard mentioned anything that had to do with Oklahoma.
Crowds of people held their camera phones to capture the moments. They stood by a bright orange bus parked by Gannet Hall that displayed a slogan — “Let’s do more with Saturday” — with the faces of the four show hosts.
MU wide receiver Terry Dennis took a picture of himself with the pre-game commotion as his background.
“You live to play in big games like this,” said Dennis, a junior majoring in interdisciplinary studies. “You can’t be the best until you beat the best.”
Signs with phrases such as “You’ve been Pinkeled” popped up out of the crowd.
Sophomore Erik Ernst and freshman Mitchell Huebner spent hours making their signs. They selected photos of Aldon Smith with words like “Red rover red rover we’re sending Aldon right over” and “Now you see me, now you don’t.” Although Smith has been injured, Ernst said, “He will show up in a big way.”
“We had to go to five different stores to get all our supplies,” Ernst said. “This could easily be the biggest game at MU,” he said, noting the time spent making the sign was well worth it.
Sophomore Sean McLafferty was donned in a thrift-store, tweed suit with "MU" in bold letters painted on his back. He and his roommate Jason Lane made the outfit over the course of two days.
“This is the game of my college life,” McLafferty said.
Among the signs was a stuffed tiger tied on a squeegee that Kathy Barry lifted high in the air. The tiger was biting an Oklahoma football player.
“Well, you know a tiger is vicious,” said Barry, who said her husband and all her children attended MU. “It can eat its opponents.”