1. The Purple Clock
Starting with the 1995 season, the clock face of the Rebecca Crown Tower on the NU campus will change from white to purple if the Wildcats earn the victory. Since 1997, if the Wildcats win the final game during their season, the clock will remain purple until the start of the next season. Look at the Rebecca Crown Tower when at Northwestern to see if the Wildcats won their most recent game.
2. Wildcat Growl/Claw
This is when Northwestern fans hold up their arm in a claw formation while creating as much noise as possible to distract the opponent. The growl is the loudest on the third down and a great tradition to take part in when attending a Northwestern football game.
3. Hands in the Air
Before the fourth quarter, join the guest conductor as he/she encourages fans to put their hands up in the air. If nothing else, Northwestern fans will always listen to Mike Ditka telling fans to put their hands in the air!
4. Walk with Us
Before the game starts, join in on the Walk with Us. About two and a half hours before kickoff, the band, cheerleaders, Willie the Wildcat, and fans welcome the team to the stadium. The tradition is done to honor former Head Coach Rand Walker and takes place along Wildcat Way. You’ll love Walk with Us as it gives you a chance to get up close to Wildcats players and coaches.
5. Wildcat Dash
Before the kick-off of the Big Ten opener, Northwestern offers first-year students the chance to lead the team out onto the field as a class. This is a great tradition that every student should take a part in when they get their chance.
6. Wildcat Alley
Located on the football practice field Northeast of Ryan Stadium is Wildcat Alley, a family friendly tailgate that is open three hours before kickoff. Wildcat Alley offers a variety of activities such as an inflatable football toss, face painting, and the Cricket Wireless Stage which features interviews with NU coaches and prizes that can be won by fans. If you bring your family to a Wildcats game, then there is no better pregame destination than Wildcat Alley.
7. Sheridan Road Tailgating
If you feel like setting up your site, the best place to do so is off of Sheridan Road. This is one of the many free spots to tailgate for fans before kickoff. This is a fantastic place to set up your grills and throw on some Chicago-style hot dogs or look to see if anyone is serving up some Italian beef.
8. Push Ups
Like a few other schools in college football, Willie the Wildcat and the cheerleaders will do push-ups to match the cumulative score of the game; the unique thing about NU games is that students will sometimes be lifted into the air to do the push-ups while counting out loud the score.
9. Land of Lincoln Trophy
Northwestern and Illinois play each season for the Land of Lincoln Trophy and have been playing annually since 1927. The intrastate rivalry has blossomed due to the proximity of the two schools, which makes for a great game as many fans will travel to the opposing school for this match up.
10. Jingling Keys
Northwestern fans jingle their keys before each kickoff. This is a great tradition that gets everyone up and on their feet to cheer on their Wildcats. Make sure to bring your keys to the game so that you can take part in this tradition.