Originally Published: November 7, 2007
The Mustangs football game on Saturday was a historic one, but not only because of what took place on the field. It marked the final game the Mustangs will play at Mattke Field. Next year, the team will play their home games at the Regional Event Center, which is scheduled to be open in time for the 2008 season opener.
When Mattke Field first opened in 1971 as SSU Stadium, the team was not able to enjoy much success. The Mustangs went 0-4 at SSU Stadium in 1971 and didn’t enjoy a winning season at home until going 2-1 in their third season in 1973. There were 4 times in team history that the Mustangs did not win a home game at SSU Stadium/Mattke Field.
With the team’s failures also comes success. The Mustangs have enjoyed five undefeated seasons at home, with the latest coming in 1994.
On September 28, 1985, SSU Stadium was renamed Mattke Field to honor then-retiring Glenn Mattke, who was the director of athletics at SSU for the previous 15 years. In 1998, lights were installed on the field. This allowed for the first ever night game at Mattke Field to be played on Sept. 12, 1998, versus Augustana College.
In recent years, Mattke Field has had its fair share of memorable games. The game versus the University of Minnesota, Crookston during the 2006 season was cut short due to a lightning storm. “With about seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, a dark, ominous cloud peaked over the bleachers and within seconds the referees called for a suspension of the game,” said junior offensive guard Jim Nelson. “It seemed like the longest wait ever before the game was finally ruled complete and we had won the game.”
Also during the 2006 season was the thrilling triple-overtime game with Upper Iowa University. Then senior linebacker Jon Kubat intercepted a pass in the third overtime period to seal the victory for the Mustangs. “That was about the most exciting moment for me at Mattke,” said Nelson.