NDSU's big homecoming game against Illinois State kicked off at one o'clock this afternoon.

It's hard to top the crazy celebration of the usual NDSU tailgate.

It doesn't appear the fans felt it was necessary to go over the top for this game.

You would think homecoming calls for a dramatic celebration, but for the fans here, they say it's just business as usual.

"You know homecoming obviously it's a great time for former alumni to get together but every Saturday is a game day and that's what we treat it as," says former NDSU football player Ben Lecompte.

The sentiment here is that the homecoming game is pretty much just another game, but that doesn't mean that Bison fans go any less hard than they normally do.

There's still all of the classic staples of Bison tailgating.

Painted trailers and buses, cookouts, booze and music have all come out in full force.

"There's no difference. Just because it's homecoming it's not that there's more people out here then there usually is. It's awesome because alumni you know they bleed green and gold and that what it's about. We're out here every week whether or not it's homecoming," says Lecompte.

"It's the same tailgate we always do. Every tailgate is awesome. So we treat them all the same," says NDSU fan Bob Wold.

Wold does say he notices one difference though.

"What I notice more is we get a lot more ex–bison football players coming through than we normally do," says Wold.

Even though everyone I speak with says it's just another game, I made one observation while wandering through the crowds.

I don't think I've ever seen more enthusiasm from fans at one of these games before today.

Everywhere I went fans cheered and threw up their horns with pure joy and pride.

Maybe homecoming is just another game, but the spirit of a long tradition it provokes is special.

NDSU fans' next opportunity to catch a home game will be in two weeks when they face South Dakota State.