Sunday, September 14, 2008
It's been a couple of seasons since I attended BYU football games regularly, but I'm really glad we decided to go to this one. BYU blew the doors off of UCLA yesterday by the staggering score of 59-0. (Gratuitous shot of scoreboard courtesty of M-High.) Taken by itself, the game was pretty impressive. Quarterback Max Hall picked up seven touchdown passes - a BYU record - while the defense and special teams forced three turnovers that led directly to touchdowns. Not too shabby. But what was most impressive, in my opinion, was the crowd.
Normally, BYU home crowds are pretty sad. We tend not to cheer at the right times, don't really have a sense of how to disrupt an opponent, and love gimmicks. (The Wave is still popular at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Sigh.) The crowd really didn't have their heart in the first game, and it showed, as BYU allowed 17 points to I-AA Northern Iowa. This game, however, was different. Hall led BYU to a touchdown on the opening drive, and right from the onset, the crowd smelled blood. We were loud, excited, and got right in UCLA's face as the defense blocked a field goal on the Bruins' opening drive. What's more, the crowd stayed rambunctious the whole way through. The only time we faltered was when the cheerleaders started The Wave during one of our kickoffs, leading to a solid return from UCLA. We quickly atoned for the bad karma by yelling loud enough to force a UCLA fumble and set up a quick touchdown.
Here's what I was most proud of, though. With the clock winding down in the fourth quarter, UCLA put on a decent drive, getting close to the end zone. The game was already well in hand, with BYU up 59-0, so a UCLA score wouldn't have hurt things, but it was clear everyone there wanted a shutout. And with UCLA threatening to break that, the fans decided to take matters into their own hands. We shouted loud enough to break the Bruins' concentration and stop a pass that could have been a touchdown. We broke up a couple of other plays. And when it came down to the field goal attempt, everyone in that stadium yelled "BLOCK THAT KICK!" over and over until we watched it sail wide right.
I know most of it comes down to how the team itself plays, but had the crowd been as lackluster as it was for the Northern Iowa game, I'm convinced that ball would have gone in. As it was, I felt like I personally had contributed to a monumental victory. And I know that we as BYU fans can do the same game for every other home game. Personally, I don't plan to allow BYU to lose another game this season. I'm prepared to yell and scream loud and long enough to lose my voice for every home game if it means victories as big as this one.