Uniting Utes and Frightening Foes: The Legend of the Mighty Utah Student Section

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Uniting Utes and Frightening Foes: The Legend of the Mighty Utah Student Section

By Casey Overfield

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One of the most exciting and rewarding parts of being in college is the chance to attend sports games and cheer on your team as a part of your school’s student section. 

Going to games and being a part of the action is memorable and fun for students and it makes them a lifelong fan of their university and the athletics associated with it. 

Student sections are crucial for athletes to feel supported and for students to gain a sense of camaraderie among each other through attending games together. The atmosphere that they create is key to any successful team, and sports programs nationwide acknowledge the effect that the students have on the outcome of a game.

Here at the University of Utah, we are home to the MUSS, or the Mighty Utah Student Section. The MUSS is one of the top student sections in the nation, and they live up to the hype. Thousands of students fill the stands at Rice-Eccles and the Huntsman Center to cheer on our Ute teams.

When students sign up to be a part of the MUSS, they enjoy perks such as student section seats at games, game day tailgates and free swag handouts.

However, the MUSS does not just run on its own. It takes a group of 20 plus students called the MUSS board to be constantly planning and collaborating to make it all happen. The board is led by Steven Jessup, who has been a part of the MUSS since he started school here at the U. 

Jessup, a senior studying business management, is currently the president of the MUSS. He has been on the MUSS board for three years, and he has been going to Utah football games since 2004 when he was just 11 years old.

Football is what made Jessup fall in love with the U, and it is the sport that he is most excited for this coming season. Jessup, along with the rest of the board, has been planning and preparing for this upcoming season since last spring at their bi-weekly meetings. 

“It’s hard to pick just one favorite memory of a Utah sports game, in all honesty. I’ve stormed the field after beating BYU in a close game. I’ve had players jump up in the stands with us in the MUSS. I’ve felt the electric energy of screaming at the top of my lungs with 6,000 other students creating a deafening roar,” Jessup said. “I’ve witnessed two undefeated football seasons. I’ve watched perfect 10 performances in gymnastics. I’ve seen Parker VanDyke sink 4 three-pointers in 5 minutes.”

Although he has seen some incredible moments in Utah sports, Jessup always thinks back to that first game almost 15 years ago when he first fell in love with Utah sports and the Utah student section. 

“It’s hard to top my memory of my first time seeing the MUSS. Everyone was jumping and screaming in unison and that is etched in my memory. There’s nothing that can quite compare to the first time you see the MUSS, and it’s an unforgettable experience to be a part of it.”

Jessup describes the MUSS as not only the student section but also as “a state of disorder.” The goal is to create pandemonium and excitement for both the home team to feed off of and for the visiting team to be confused about. 

The MUSS takes pride in the fact that it has been named one of the top 5 student sections in the nation each year for the past few seasons, and coming to Rice-Eccles is a feat that many football teams dread. Not only is the student section dedicated, but they are loud, and they use the design of the stadium to their advantage to add on pressure for opposing teams.  

“This year we’ve received a lot of national recognition and are kind of picked as the dark horse of the NCAA to turn some heads this season. So I’m greatly looking forward to seeing our Mighty Utes stand up to the occasion,” Jessup said. “Mostly though, I’m just looking forward to being in the MUSS again. This will be my last year as I’m graduating, so I’m going to soak it in for all it’s worth. There’s just something about 6,000 students all yelling and cheering in unison for the same cause that brightens my spirits!”

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@CaseyOverfield