Football at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) is an experience like no other in college sports, and South Carolina State University has a tradition to rival any school in the nation. The Bulldogs have won numerous Black National Championships and sent such stars as Deacon Jones, Harry Carson and Donnie Shell to the NFL, while longtime former coach Willie Jeffries is a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.
But it’s not just about football. One of the best shows anywhere occurs whenever SCSU’s famed Marching 101 Band takes the field, performing a magical mix of music and dance team routines – and often musical “duels” with visiting HBCU opponents. Come for the football, stay for the band.
How to enjoy a Bulldogs football weekend, inside or outside the stadium:
Where to eat before the game – The Brown Derby, which underwent renovations in fall 2018, is a local institution dating back more than five decades, renowned for its soul food buffet. Also popular is a nearby Popeyes, owned by former All-American Sidney Fulton III, and D & B Fried Fish and Barbeque.
Where to tailgate with Bulldogs fans – You're likely to find a spot on several grassy areas on campus or areas around Bulldog Stadium. Alumni and friends head for The S.T.A.T.E. Club holding area.
Where to purchase your tailgate fare – For chicken, the top pick is Fulton’s Popeyes. For fried fish and seafood, head for D & B Fried Fish and Barbeque. And if barbecue is your thing, it’s hard to beat Dukes BarBQ on Chestnut Street.
Best S.C. State game-day rituals – Without a doubt, it’s watching the Marching 101 perform at halftime. A pregame favorite with kids is the Bulldog Walk, when players head from the ticket office to the stadium locker room. And for great music, there’s also the Fifth Quarter, when S.C. State and visiting team’s bands compete in a musical playoff that keeps people in the stands long after the final gun.
What they’re singing or dancing to – The Bulldog Fight Song played by the band gets fans rocking. Between scores, you'll hear a selection of R&B and hip-hop played on the stadium public address system.