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A strong fan base was something George enjoyed as an All-Pro running back for the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium, but something he's missed as TSU's coach at the same facility.
The Titans' average home attendance was 68,193 during the five seasons George played at Nissan Stadium (1999-2003).
TSU's average home attendance so far is 2,466.
George knew the crowds wouldn't be as large as those he played in front of, but he also did not expect the smattering of fans who showed up to see the Tigers beat Kentucky State 41-7 and Tennessee Tech 20-13 overtime at home.
"To be honest, it is disappointing to walk out there and to see literally nobody in the stands," George said. "We appreciate the fans that have supported us. But it is discouraging when you see that because you don't have a real homefield advantage. You're playing in a stadium in front of nobody."
TSU (3-3, 1-1 OVC) plays in the largest stadium in the conference but has the smallest average home attendance. It ranks 122nd out of 129 FCS programs.
By comparison in their last road game the Tigers played in front of 7,211 fans at Austin Peay.
George is a firm believer that a large home crowd can sway the outcome of a game. He saw it make a difference as a player.
Early in George's NFL career the Titans, then the Oilers, made the transition from Houston to Tennessee and played in front of sparse crowds in their final season in Houston (1996), one season in Memphis (1997) and one at Vanderbilt (1998).
That all changed when the Titans finally got their own stadium and quickly built a fan base.
In their first season (1999) at Nissan Stadium, then Adelphia Coliseum, the average home attendance skyrocketed to 66,111 and the Titans went to the Super Bowl.
"The reality is we didn't really start winning ballgames until we had a real homefield advantage with the Titans; when we packed Nissan Stadium," George said.
"I realize this is college football. We're not going to fill up the bottom half of the stadium. But certainly when we have a home game we would love to have some kind of homefield advantage when it comes to fans."
The Tigers' home attendance sagged after they posted only two winning records over the previous seven seasons. Their homecoming game, however, has continued to draw big crowds.
The 2020 OVC season was played in the spring because of COVID-19, so there was no homecoming game, but over the previous five years the average homecoming crowd at Nissan Stadium was 19,599.
TSU is on the road Saturday at Eastern Illinois (1-6, 1-1) and returns for homecoming on Oct. 30 against Murray State. George hopes homecoming might prompt more fans to show up and support his team.
"We've got to take care of business first at Eastern Illinois," George said. "With that being said, homecoming is a big deal here at Tennessee State. I wish every home game was treated like homecoming. I'm hopeful if things work out in our favor this weekend people will recognize these guys are working hard, they're winning and they will come out and support us and provide some energy that is much needed."
Follow Mike Organ on Twitter @MikeOrganWriter.
This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Eddie George disappointed in Tennessee State football home crowds