ORANGE CITY, IOWA (KCAU) – The Northwestern-Morningside matchup on Saturday was one for the books. A No. 1 vs. No. 3 battle of NAIA unbeatens in the snow that had those around Siouxland and the country watching, including one man who’s viral college football journey took him to Orange City, Iowa for the top-three showdown.
Rodger Sherman was used to writing about the greatness of college football, but he hadn’t experienced much of it.
“I thought to myself, you know I’ve never been to so many of the places that I’m writing about,” college football traveler Rodger Sherman said. “I’ve never been to so many of the stadiums, I’ve never been to so many of the places.”
So “Road Rodge” packed his bags. Leaving his job at The Ringer in August, Sherman has spent the season road tripping across the country to experience as many top college football games, traditions and atmospheres as possible.
“I think people wanna feel like they’re along for the ride with me. Going out and getting to see the places and the schools and the traditions and to hear the bands and see the fans. Going out experiencing it the way it’s meant to be experienced,” Sherman said.
Each week, Sherman puts up a vote on social media of which game he should attend. The options for his 28th game of the year? Top SEC matchup Florida-Georgia or his first NAIA game in Northwestern-Morningside. Fans voted and Rodger headed to Orange City. For a snow game.
“The great thing about college football is it means so much to people that everyone wants to show you what’s great about their college football program and what’s great about their place. We care about Morningside, we care about Northwestern, and they made sure that I knew why,” Sherman said.
Seeing a storied rivalry between top NAIA programs was a thrill in itself, but it was the passion of the players and fanbases in spite of the conditions that stuck with Sherman the most. From snow celebrations to the lone trombonist who braved the elements, Road Rodge got a full dose of football in Iowa.
“28 games in I definitely still get a rush. When I saw the way fans were gathering snow on top of their bodies and still cheering, that’s passion right there,” Sherman said.
And while he sets his sights on his next game, Sherman says he may see these teams again, circling the NAIA national championship in December for a possible stop down the road.
“I’ve been to Ohio State, I’ve been to Texas-Oklahoma, but I’m going to remember this forever. This was a one of a kind experience,” Sherman said.