‘Here he comes to save the day!’

Photo illustration by Brandon Ocegueda / The Collegian

Fresno State band plays theme songs for the Bulldogs’ heroes

College football is based on tradition. At Penn State, every one of the 105,000 fans in attendance wears white shirts proudly. Florida State is known for a tomahawk chop and USC has Tommy Trojan and his stallion, “Traveler.”

Fresno State’s marching band is trying to begin a tradition, and it seems to be catching on at football games.
It started with a former Fresno State tailback and his love for the Dark Knight.

“Where this all got started was when Clifton Smith was here and he was Batman. When he would line up for punt or kickoff returns, we would play the Batman theme,” director of athletic band Timothy Anderson said. “It would be one of the most exciting things around, because he always had a chance of taking it to the end zone.”

The first player to earn a superhero moniker this season was 5-foot-7 freshman running back Robbie Rouse. His electrifying moves and ability to hide behind his blockers and break off big runs, have earned him the nickname Mighty Mouse. Rouse has noticed his support coming from the student section.

“It’s an amazing accomplishment for me to come in here and be able to accomplish a song,” Rouse said. “I looked up the song on YouTube because I never heard it before, so when they do play it I know what song it was.”

Rouse earned the name in high school and said that it was an easy name because mouse rhymes with his last name Rouse.

Photo illustration by Matt Weir / The Collegian

He isn’t the only player in 2009 getting things off the ground. Known for his blistering speed, receiver Devon Wylie had been turning heads as Speed Racer.

After Wylie ran a 4.25-second 40-yard dash in summer workouts, the nickname seemed fitting.

“I’m happy there’s even a song being played for me. That’s exciting so I’m pretty grateful for that,” Wylie said.

Even though the theme song has caught on, Wylie hopes that the band will take one more request and play a Dave Matthews Band song for him called “Shake Me Like a Monkey.”

“‘Shake Me Like a Monkey’ has a really cool trumpet and saxophone intro, it’s really rhythmic and sounds really good and it gets me really excited,” Wylie said.

With his emergence as a Heisman Trophy candidate, the nation’s leading rusher could be getting in on the fun Saturday at Bulldog Stadium.

“We were trying to find something for Ryan Mathews, and somebody suggested Superman because he was doing so well, so I thought that was a really good idea and will probably do that,” Anderson said.

Photo illustration by Brandon Ocegueda / The Collegian

Mathews said it would be great to have his own theme song. Like Smith, he might play along by wearing a “Superman” undershirt.

“That is awesome, I love the band to death. They get me juiced when I’m running down the ramp,” Mathews said. “Clifton got his Batman, hopefully if they do start playing it, I’m going to have to get a Superman shirt and wear it like Clifton did.”

Only time will tell which player gets a nickname next, but if another superhero makes an appearance at Bulldog Stadium, the marching band will be there.

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