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NDSU fans reach 115 decibels at playoff game

North Dakota State University football fans didn’t set a record for crowd noise Saturday afternoon.  However, the Bison faithful are getting closer. 

A study of noise readings by Mark Schroeder, assistant professor of practice in electrical and computer engineering, and Laura Dallmann, administrative secretary in the same department, showed the Fargodome crowd peaked at 115 decibels during NDSU’s 38-7 victory against Furman. The reading is the equivalent of a turbo-fan aircraft at close range.

The crowd at the Seattle Seahawks game against New Orleans earlier this month at CenturyLink Field in Seattle set the Guinness World Record with a decibel reading of 137.6.

“We really didn’t know what to expect,” said Troy Goergen, NDSU senior associate athletic director for marketing and media relations. “Everybody had 111 in the back of their minds and we were hoping to at least validate that.”

Saturday’s peak reading came from near the south end zone when senior cornerback Marcus Williams scored on a 61-yard interception return late in the third quarter to put the Bison ahead 31-7. Defensive plays throughout the game registered a peak of 113, 110 and 108 from the student section.

The north and south end zones each registered a peak of 110. The pre-game team introduction came in at 103 decibels from near the player entrance to the field.

Schroeder said the common peak reading was 110 and the student section registered an average between 105-107.

An unscientific study conducted last year from the press box during the playoff semifinals registered a high of 111 following a late touchdown by quarterback Brock Jensen.

“It was quite loud and that can be very disturbing to the opposing team,” Schroeder said. “Where I was in the student section, it felt like it was in a beehive due to the buzzing of the fans. It was a pretty impressive sound.”

Goergen said he plans to get similar decibel readings for the remainder of this year’s games played at the Fargodome. He also hopes to spark an effort to attempt to break the Guinness World Record for crowd noise at an indoor stadium during next season’s season opener. The record of 126 decibels was set last month by Sacramento Kings fans at Sleep Train Arena in California. 

The Bison are scheduled to host Coastal Carolina at 11 a.m. on Saturday in the quarterfinals.

“I think 120 is a distinct possibility,” Goergen said. “I think people are going to ramp it up a little. People will start to wrap their arms around this team even more.”

 NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.


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North Dakota State University
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