FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Kids of all ages will have the rare opportunity to “Touch-a-Truck” by climbing aboard to see what it’s like behind the wheel of emergency, construction and military vehicles before watching the UMass Minutemen football team take on 17th-ranked Northern Illinois University on Heroes in Action Day at Gillette Stadium Saturday, Nov. 2 at noon.
The Huskies, who appeared in last season’s Orange Bowl and finished the year ranked No. 22 in the Associated Press writers’ poll, will be the first nationally ranked Football Bowl Subdivision home opponent for the Minutemen in the program’s history.
Activities, food, music and alumni celebrations will start at 9 a.m. with the opening of the UMass Amherst Alumni Association Tailgate Tent and MinuteFan Park. In addition to the “Touch-a-Truck” display, fans and alumni can meet Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy to learn about the latest research and advances at UMass Amherst, and view a video message from Robert Feldman, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Jay Schafer, director of the UMass Amherst Libraries.
The Minutemen Marching Band, cheerleaders and dance team will provide entertainment, and fans can play various tailgating games. Children can have their faces painted and fans can have “eye-black” applied.
At 9:30 a.m., the Minutemen team buses arrive at the Tailgate Tent and fans can take part in the traditional Minutemen Team March, as head coach Charley Molnar and the players greet fans and alumni while they enter Gillette Stadium to prepare for action.
The Tailgate Tent will serve brunch at 10 a.m., and for $10 fans can enjoy a pregame meal that includes bagels with cream cheese, hot breakfast sandwiches, cinnamon buns, Caesar salad, pulled pork sliders, beef short ribs, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw, cornbread, assorted cookies and soft drinks.
Regional Boy and Girl Scout troops will be special guests at the Tailgate Tent, along with regional first responders, police, firefighters and members of the armed forces and ROTC, who will all come together to form a fan tunnel welcoming the Minutemen onto the field prior to kickoff.
The game will be televised in the Springfield area on WGGB-TV ABC 40 as an ESPN regional production, and will be available in several other markets around the country on the ESPN Game Plan subscription service, on ESPN3.com and via the WatchESPN app on tablets and smartphones. As always, the game will also be broadcast regionally on the UMass Sports Radio Network.
Fans can find information about all game day activities, special alumni ticket discounts and future alumni days at the UMass Amherst Alumni Association website, www.UMassAlumni.com/football, and tickets for all Minutemen football home games are available for purchase at www.UMassAthletics.com or by calling 866-UMASS-TIX. Saturday is also Alumni Day for graduates of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and alumni of SBS are also eligible to receive discounted tickets to this week’s game.
Parking at Gillette Stadium is free for all fans.