With a capacity of over 100,000 and a design similar to a coliseum, Neyland Stadium is often renowned as one of the loudest stadiums in college football. But don’t take my word for it: many of Tennessee’s opponents over the last couple years have said the same thing.
A pair of Arkansas teammates claimed Neyland was one of the most hostile environments they ever played in. Former Texas A&M quarterback Trevor Knight called it “the most intimidating ever,” and Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield said the crowd in 2015 was “unbelievable.”
Now another one of Tennessee’s opponents is talking about how loud fans at Neyland can get.
At SEC Media Days, Florida offensive lineman Martez Ivey was asked about crowd noise and atmosphere in the stadium the Gators call home, The Swamp. And according to Ivey, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium’s atmosphere is electric.
“The stadium itself, the fans are right there on top of us,” Ivey said at SEC Media Days. “One of the memories I have was Ole Miss, the crowd was like in me. It was so loud at one point I couldn’t hear anything. I felt like the crowd was shaking me. The roar of the crowd, I felt movement in my body. I was vibrating.”
Ivey is referring to the Gators’ home game against Ole Miss in 2015, a game Florida routed the Rebels 38-10. But when Ivey was asked if any other atmosphere he’s played in compared to The Swamp, his answer was Neyland Stadium.
“At times last year, toward the second half of Tennessee, they have a lot of fans, that stadium is pretty big, too,” Ivey replied. “When they get loud, I mean…so it was pretty much the same at Tennessee because they hadn’t beat Florida in how many years, and the fans and the atmosphere too. If you were a Tennessee fan or Tennessee player, it had to be great for them.”
After a sluggish and sloppy first half saw the Vols trail the Gators 21-3 at halftime, the crowd exploded to life in the second half when Tennessee piled on 35 unanswered points en route to a 38-28 victory over Florida. That was Tennessee’s first win over the Gators since 2004. Thousands of the fans in attendance stayed after the game to celebrate with the players as well.
But Ivey’s praise for Tennessee and Neyland Stadium stopped there. Despite his compliment towards Tennessee’s crowd, Ivey still believes the Gator’s home stadium is the best around.
“But nothing tops Florida,” Ivey said. “When it comes down to playing at home you definitely have to take that personal. That’s where we work out every day, that’s where we put our blood, sweat and tears at.
“That’s our home, we don’t want anybody coming in and robbing us on our home field.”
The Vols will try to do just that this season when they travel to Gainesville to take on the Gators in Week 3 of the 2017 season. Tennessee hasn’t won in The Swamp since 2003.