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Badgers gameday primer: TV, tickets, parking and everything else fans need to know as Wisconsin hosts Penn State
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Badgers gameday primer: TV, tickets, parking and everything else fans need to know as Wisconsin hosts Penn State

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Fans at Camp Randall

Wisconsin football fans celebrate during a party at Union South before the start of the Badgers' 2019 home opener against Central Michigan at Camp Randall in Madison. UW is welcoming back fans for the 2021 season after the COVID-19 pandemic kept them away in 2020. 

Whether you are heading down to Camp Randall Stadium or watching from the comfort of your couch, the Wisconsin State Journal has Badgers fans covered with a complete breakdown of everything they need to know as the 12th-ranked Wisconsin football team opens the season against the 19th-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions on Saturday in Madison.

The officials

Jerry McGinn is the head referee. Also on his crew: umpire Mike Pilarski, linesman BJ Henry, line judge Mark Bennett, back judge Jeff Latkiewicz, field judge Reginald Berry, side judge John Hayes and center judge Brent Durbin.

Watching from home

Saturday's game is being broadcast by FOX, which will air its "Big Noon Kickoff" from UW's Engineering Mall at 9 a.m. The game is set to kick off at 11 a.m. with Gus Johnson, Joel Klatt and Jenny Taft working the game for FOX. Fans in the Madison area can watch the game on Channel 47 or listen along on 101.5 FM or 1310 AM with Matt Lepay and Mike Lucas on the call. 

Heading to Camp Randall

With the Badgers welcoming fans back to a game at Camp Randall for the first time in 651 days, there are some changes in store for spectators this season.

Tickets: With UW no longer issuing team-printed tickets, fans attending the game can either print their ticket at home or present their digital ticket on their smartphone at the gate. 

Buyers receive their tickets digitally and the barcoded passes exist in the user’s account to be used, transferred or resold. Fans use a self-serve scanner at the gate for entry to the stadium.

Follow along as State Journal cartoonist draws a cartoon with Bucky Badger and Wisconsin fans returning to Camp Randall.

Spectators also can opt for a print-at-home ticket method. Those have to be on paper; they can’t be scanned off a phone screen.

For fans still looking for a ticket to Saturday's game, as of Friday at 5 p.m., UW still had seats available for $95-$130 before fees and the ticket brokering website StubHub had tickets available from $39-$144 plus fees.

Weather: After a foggy morning in the upper 60s, it is expected to warm up a bit in the Madison area Saturday afternoon with a high of 73 degrees, according to the National Weather Service, which is calling for a 20 percent chance of rain.

Former UW football players like Jack Cichy and Beau Allen are always welcome back to practice, UW coach Paul Chryst says.

Parking: The university operates a number of parking lots on a first-come, first-served basis on football gamedays, with costs ranging from $5-$15 for passenger vehicles. For those heading to the game by bicycle, there is free bike parking available from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. behind the Monroe Street Fire Station along the southwest commuter path. Check out the map below for all parking lot locations and availability:

COVID protocols: Fans should bring a face-covering to the game, with UW requiring fans to wear masks when they’re in indoor public areas of the stadium unless they’re actively eating or drinking. Mask also are “strongly encouraged” in outdoor areas, according to guidance issued by the athletic department Aug. 16.

Cashless concessions: Starting with Saturday's game, concession stands at Camp Randall will accept only credit and debit cards, Google Pay and Apple Pay. The change, expected to save fans time in line, has been implemented by other arenas and stadium in the state. Unlike at some other venues, there will be no reverse ATM kiosks allowing fans to exchange cash for a prepaid card, so plan accordingly. UW is allowing fans to bring a sealed 20-ounce bottle of water into the stadium.

Gameday entertainment: The UW Marching Band is planning a special "We're Back" halftime performance featuring a slate of songs selected with the return of fans in mind. The set list calls for songs such as Diana Ross' "I'm Coming Out," Backstreet Boys' "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)," and Gloria Gaynor's "I Will Survive." The band also has performances scheduled for Badgerville at 9:15 a.m. and the Badger Bash at 10 a.m. at Union South. Fans will also want to be in their seats a few minutes before kickoff with a historical video titled "Where the Streets Have No Name" set to air as the Badgers take the field at 10:55 a.m.

Badgers coach Paul Chryst says big plays come from both deep throws and everyone doing the little things to make the average play pop

Special guests: Badgers fans at Saturday's game will be treated to guest appearances for UW athletes across a range of sports. The 2020-21 Big Ten champion Wisconsin volleyball team will be honored on field, with Sydney Hilley, a recipient of the prestigious Big Ten Medal of Honor, will be recognized alongside of Badgers men's hockey player Linus Weissbach, UW's other winner of the prestigious award last season. Montreal Canadiens star Cole Caufield, who led the UW men’s hockey team to the 2021 Big Ten title while being named the Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner, will be recognized on the field with his teammates. The list of UW star athletes expected at Saturday's game doesn't end there, with Olympic athletes Maddie Wanamaker (U.S., rowing); Kelsey Card (U.S., discuss); Zach Ziemek (U.S., decathlon); Phoebe Bacon (U.S., swimming); and Jonathan Davis (U.S., basketball) set to be recognized on the field.

Catch up on our coverage

With so much excellent preseason coverage, it can be easy to miss important information. From a position-by-position breakdown of UW's roster to Jim Polzin's ranking of every notable Big Ten storyline and Colten Bartholomew's in-depth look at the Badgers matchup with the Nittany Lions, we have something for everyone:

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