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Fans, businesses prepare for UO-OSU rivalry game

“There's just an expectation of wall-to-wall customers all day. just a lot of feeling overwhelmed trying to keep up with the rush,” McNeer said, “a lot of hope that our patrons that day will have leniency for the rush.”

Posted: Nov 26, 2021 8:59 PM

EUGENE, Ore. --- As time winds down before the UO-OSU rivalry football game on Saturday, both fans and local business staff are making adjustments for the rush of people into the area. For the first time in two years, fans will be able to attend the game in person.

KEZI 9 News spoke with fans and employees in Corvallis and Eugene to see how they are beginning to prepare.

Employees at Sy's Pizza, a pizzeria just off the University of Oregon's campus, said the game is a big deal for business.

One of their pizza cooks, Riley McNeer, said he expects to be busy for most of the day on Saturday.

“There's just an expectation of wall-to-wall customers all day. just a lot of feeling overwhelmed trying to keep up with the rush,” McNeer said, “a lot of hope that our patrons that day will have leniency for the rush.”

The Governor's newest outdoor mask guidance applies to all outdoor gatherings.

Some of the fans in Eugene said they are more concerned about the on-the-field product, as opposed to how many masks there are in the stands.

RELATED: Oregon vs. Oregon State rivalry game still unnamed ahead of Saturday matchup

Cooper Lash says he will be wearing his mask, but he understands why others won't.

“I think that it's important that we protect the others around us and that's all I have to say,” Lash said, “I just really hope that others think that way and are considerate, but I expect it to be a very loud game so a lot of people will want to take the masks off.”

Meanwhile, over in Oregon State Beaver country, some fans are staying to watch the games from their own homes.

Ashley Wood is a diehard Beaver fan and just can't bring herself to enter Autzen stadium this year. She said she is confident her team will prevail. 

"I'm hoping we can win, it's been a while but we've been good so to be able to play a game that means something in the national picture, in the Rose Bowl picture, it's going to be great," Wood said. 

And other fans like Scott Keeney are looking forward to a glass of beer and a slice of pizza at his favorite pizza joint, American Dream Pizza. 

"Pregame I often go to my favorite pizzeria on Monroe, American Dream, and gather with buddies and we talk. Or I'll have a slice and a pint next to strangers and become friends," Keeney said. "Just sort of enjoying that informal tailgate that exists before any kind of a football game." 

The morning manager at American Dream Pizza on southwest 2nd street, Bjorn Ellenburg, said he and his co-workers spend days leading up to any Beavers matchup prepping for a big crowd, whether they're playing at Reser Stadium or hitting the road. 

He said it's especially important to be ready for crowds during a game as big as this one. 

"It just means it will be busy. Busy, busy, busy. We usually have extra people on call because we'll have like a schedule that's like a normal schedule but we'll have a game-day schedule, so we have extra people coming in so everyone is on board," Ellenburg said. 

It's safe to say Ducks and Beavers alike are both anxious and excited for Saturday's big game. 

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