10,000 fans return to TCF Bank Stadium for Gophers' spring football game

Limited seating filled up quickly on Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium. (FOX 9)

The University of Minnesota football team held its 2021 spring football game on Saturday, after last year's game was cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Tickets for the game were limited to 10,000 -- and they were gone in about two hours – so those who got in were well spaced out around TCF Bank Stadium.

"It’s special... this is the first time that I think most of us have been into a stadium in over a year," a fan told FOX 9.

That year of watching football at home on the couch translated into lots of pent-up energy Saturday.

"I’m just so excited to be back out here in person at TCF Bank Stadium… I missed it so, so much," students said. "It’s just good to be back on campus and feel like we’re part of college again."

"Everybody - the fans missed it, the kids missed it - it’s great to be back," fan Kenneth Lawrie added.

For freshman Russell Brown, just being at the game was a rite of passage.

"I feel like I wasn’t really a part of the school culture until I’ve been to a football game," Brown explained. "But now that we’re here, I feel a lot more at home."

All fans were seated in pods and told to wear face coverings at all times.

"This feels pretty normal, like aside from the masks, I feel like this is a pretty normal game," Brown said.

"If it means that I’ve got to wear a mask in order to go to football games this year, you’ll catch me in the second row right here, row 137, watching games," fan Curtis Bakken added.

With the COVID-19 precautions in place, fans said they felt safe.

"On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say 10. There’s people around, we’re far enough away where kids can move around," Ernest James said.