Friday night lights are normally reserved for high school football, but it was the Colorado Buffaloes who took the field this time, trying to turn around what has been a dismal season.
It was the first-ever Friday night game at the University of Colorado as the Buffs took on the University of Southern California. Even with the Buffs struggling their way through a one-win season, Folsom Field was packed for the 7 p.m. kickoff.
The Trojans ended up with a solid win over the Buffs, 42-17.
"The games are still fun," said CU junior Justin Woodward. "The students are always very enthusiastic, even though the team doesn't have a good record."
Almost all of CU's fans wore black to "blackout" the stadium for the nationally televised game. The football team debuted all-black uniforms for the game.
"It's definitely a different atmosphere," said freshman Elizabeth Standley, who was experiencing her first CU night game. "The students all come out."
The Buffs have done some of their best work at night, with big wins each of the last three years. They knocked off ranked opponents in West Virginia and Kansas in 2008 and 2009, respectively, and beat SEC heavyweight Georgia in 2010.
"The night games have more hype, and all the students get really revved up," said senior Demetrius Link. "It brings back that old high school feel, when football was the place to be on Friday nights."
In the first quarter, a fan -- fully clothed -- ran onto the field during a CU third-down play before he was tackled by players and security.
Cmdr. Robert Axmacher, of the CU Police Department, said the man was taken to the Boulder County Jail, but he was not sure Friday night what charges the man would face.
Although CU is no stranger to night games, this was the school's first night game on a Friday. School officials convinced ESPN -- which televised the game -- to move the showdown from Thursday to Friday to avoid interrupting late classes at CU.
Students said moving the night game to Friday made it easier to have fun without having to worry about classes or homework the next morning.
"I think it's great," said CU graduate student Austin Perez. "There's no school tomorrow, so we can celebrate properly."
There was not a whole lot to celebrate by the end of the night, as the USC Trojans handed the Buffs a ninth loss. With the last home game of the season coming up next week against Arizona, time is running out for CU to win a game at Folsom Field.
Fans said there's always 2012.
"I am an eternal optimist when it comes to the Buffs," said Chris Lawson, a CU law student who also went to CU as an undergraduate. "I've been a fan since I could walk, so I keep coming to games. Once (head coach) Jon Embree has a few recruiting classes, things will get better. I still think he's the right man for the job."
Contact Camera Staff Writer Mitchell Byars at 303-473-1329 or firstname.lastname@example.org.