It’s easy to associate Thanksgiving Day with football. But in the South Bay, in front of a big television audience, San Jose State University played on Thanksgiving at home for the first time since the 1940s. And, against an old-time rival.
The atmosphere was exciting, nostalgic and a little bit crazy.
Longtime SJSU cheerleader “Krazy George” Henderson, class of 1968, beat the drum loudly at Spartan Stadium Thursday as the Spartans played host to the Fresno State Bulldogs.
“Oh I think it’s a great tradition, I love showing up on Thanksgiving,” said Henderson. “I’d like to wish everybody a happy Thanksgiving! It’s fun!”
Krazy George was a popular attraction. He is credited with starting the wave and his presence made the Thanksgiving Day game even more special for alums and their kids.
“We grew up with him and I mean, what better way to spend Thanksgiving than with your family doing something fun,” said SJSU alum Candace Dickerson.
Former Spartan football stars came out -- including a member of the school’s back to back championships in the 80’s .
“The whole country got to see San Jose State University, it puts them on the map in a sense, right? So to play on this day, it’s very special. Very nice,” said former SJSU player Sergio Olivarez.
San Jose State’s athletic director said a Thanksgiving Day appearance is a big boost for the program.
“Having this event here today is great for our football program, great for the Athletics Department, great for this community to come out and cheer us on ..and great to showcase Mountain West football on Thanksgiving,” said Jeff Konya.
The Spartans lost this Thanksgiving Day game, but as they say, came out winners in a lot of other ways.