BYU’s performance on and off the field will fuel rivalry’s flame

By Paige Fieldsted, Sports Editor

In a rivalry game like Utah and BYU, emotions always run high, on and off the field, as fans and players alike trash-talk and fuel the already heated fire.

I’ve been in the stands for the past three years to watch the Holy War, but nothing compared to this year’s matchup. With nothing but bragging rights riding on the game, it seemed even more important than in years past.

The atmosphere was electric, to say the least. Red-clad fans speckled the sea of blue well before the kick-off, and both sets of fans booed and taunted the other. There was alsoan on-fieldscuffle between players before the opening kick-off.

The Utes jumped out to an early lead, giving their fans something to cheer about, as they scored two field goals to give Utah a 6-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.

From there it looked downhill for the Utah team and their fans. Penalty after penalty stalled the offense and gave the Cougars good field position on several plays.

In the first half, Utah had four personal fouls, essentially shooting themselves in the foot on every big play they managed to make. It took every fiber in my being to not yell out in the press box.

The Utah fans in the stands echoed my frustration as we watched the Utes fall behind 20-6 in the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, it was BYU’s turn to be frustrated as they allowed the Utes to score a touchdown and convert on a two-point conversion to put the game in field goal range.

Phillips hit his fifth field goal of the game with under a minute left to play to force the second overtime in five years.

After an incredible comeback by Utah to send the game into overtime, the noise at LaVell Edwards Stadium could’ve drowned out a much bigger stadium.

Standing near the corner of the north end zone when Andrew George ran in for BYU’s final touchdown was like living a nightmare. The Utah fans behind me grew quiet as Cougar fans stormed the field in celebration of the 26-23 victory. .

The silence lasted only a few seconds, though, as several BYU fans made their way over to the Utah section, making upside down U’s with their hands, flipping Utah fans off and swearing. Utah fans responded with their own hand gestures, profanities and pointing to Sugar Bowl rings or T-shirts.

In the postgame interview Max Hall said he was glad to send the Utes home with a loss and that the whole program, university and fans are classless.

I wish Hall could’ve been on my side of the field after the game. Sure, I’ve seen Utah fans do lots of unclassy things, but no one pretends that Utah fans don’t get rowdy and a little out of control sometimes.

I’ve been asked a million times why Utah fans hate BYU so much, now I’ll have an answer. I could go on all day about BYU, fans and the rivalry, but it’s all just fuel for another year and another rivalry game.

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