Pep rally creates rivalry game buzz

By By Rita Totten, Staff Writer

By Rita Totten, Staff Writer

An anxious crowd gathered at the end of the plastic tarp-clad HPER Highway at Monday’s Rivalry Week pep rally, awaiting the deluge of numbered tennis balls that would come down the runway and result in one lucky winner of a half-tuition scholarship.

They waited. And waited.

Due to a build up of static electricity on the plastic tarp, the “Rivalry Roll” of the tennis balls was more like a slow glide, helped along by student volunteers who shook the tarp like a rug, sending some balls down the hill but others bouncing out onto the surrounding grass.

Event coordinators did their best to keep the balls on track and at one point resorted to kicking them along the runway.

Finally, the balls reached the end and winners were declared. Students purchased tennis balls for $2.50 each for a chance to win a half-tuition scholarship, an iPod Nano or a $100 gift certificate to the bookstore. All proceeds went toward the Rivalry Week food drive competition between the U and BYU and will be donated to the Utah Food Bank.

The roll was part of the Rivalry Week pep rally held Monday to enhance excitement for Saturday’s football game against BYU.

The Latter-day Saint Student Association and the Associated Students of the University of Utah hosted the

Rivalry Roll.

About 600 balls were sponsored, raising a total of $1,500, said Mike Query, campus relations director with LDSSA and a senior in electrical engineering.

Beau Freckleton, a freshman in mechanical engineering, bought four tennis balls, one of which crossed the finish line first and won him a half-tuition scholarship for next semester.

“This means a lot,” Freckleton said. “Less work and more fun classes.”

The pep rally is hosted by the U every year the Utah vs. BYU football game is played at Rice-Eccles Stadium, said Jenny Young, executive assistant to Fred Esplin, the vice president for institutional advancement.

The U marching band kicked off the rally by playing the Utah fight song, a rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Superstition.”

Football head coach Kyle Whittingham and players Derrick Shelby, Aiona Key and Matt Asiata got the crowd going by thanking the MUSS for its support through the undefeated season and led those at the rally in a rousing version of “Utah Man.”

“The MUSS was the difference in the Oregon State and TCU games,” Whittingham said. “We have the best student section in the United States! 12-0 is the goal!”

U President Michael Young was also in attendance, calling this a “terrific week.”

Young gave a brief history of the Utah-BYU rivalry, which began in 1896, when BYU was known as Brigham Young Academy.

Before leaving, Young reminded Utah fans to remain classy at Saturday’s game.

“One person practicing sportsmanship is worth 100 people talking about it,” Young said.

T. J. McMullin, a sophomore in business administration, came to the rally to hear Whittingham speak about the game. He said he has been to at least three or four Utah-BYU rivalry games.

McMullin predicted a 35-28 win over BYU Saturday.

“Brian Johnson is going to pick apart the BYU secondary,” McMullin said. “Max Hall is a baby and will end up crying just like John Beck did after the ’05 game.”

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Lucas Isley

Students paint shirts at the Rivalry Week pep rally on Monday. Head coach Kyle Wittingham and others spoke to the fans that gathered on library plaza for the pep rally.