MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — As Christmas music echoed across TCF Bank Stadium Wednesday, Gopher fans lent helping hands — and arms — to shovel out the stands under a half a foot of snow.

Fans were offered $14 an hour to come help out. Benji Wyberg goes to Iowa State, but is a Minnesota native.

“I love the Gophers, and, you know, thought I could make a couple extra bucks,” Wyberg said. “I don’t even care about the Iowa State football game this weekend. I’m all in, just waiting for the Gopher game.”

The University of Minnesota is preparing for not just a rivalry game against Wisconsin, but also a spot on national television. A crew for “ESPN College Gameday” was already constructing a set on a snowy Northrup Mall for Saturday’s game. It will be the Gopher’s debut on the broadcast, as they will try to secure a spot in the Big Ten Championship.

READ MORE: ‘It’s A Big Time’: Anticipation Builds For Gophers-Badgers Border Battle On ‘ESPN College Gameday’

“It’s just a lot more exciting to be on campus when we’re this good, and it’s a big thing for the whole state I think,” said Gopher fan Mason Morse.

Businesses in Stadium Village are anticipating big turnouts. Stub & Herbs has seen record sales this year from the Gophers golden season, even with away games.

“It almost seems like a new era of life on campus here. It’s really bringing a lot of people out, seeing what Stadium Village has to offer now, and yeah, it’s been nothing but great,” said Jake Rohde, bar manager at Stub & Herbs.

It’s possible we haven’t seen the last of the snow at TCF Bank Stadium, as there is a second storm making its way here — which could mean there may need to be some more shoveling to be done. Kickoff is on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.

The gates to watch “ESPN College Gameday” on Northrup Mall open at 5 a.m. Saturday. The show starts at 8 a.m. The U is also opening lots and ramps earlier than usual at 6 a.m.

Kate Raddatz

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