I moved to Utah two years ago. My first game was the 2019 USC game, when fans stormed the field after BYU won the overtime thriller. Last night, I got to see the field at LaVell Edwards Stadium filled with fans once more, albeit from a different vantage point.
It was insane.
Saturday night was insane.
My day actually started much earlier than the 8:15 p.m. kickoff time. I walked through the midday rain in Provo to one of the tailgating locations. I had never been to a tailgate before and wanted to see what they were like at BYU.
Fans set up trailers, trucks, numerous tables, TVs and had a plethora of food and drinks. Most surprisingly, though, was how BYU and Utah fans mingled seamlessly.
Maybe it’s because I’ve mostly seen tailgates on TV or in movies, but I always thought opposing fans stayed on their side of the parking lot. Sure, there was the occasional mild-mannered jeer casually screamed between parties when someone would walk by with either a BYU or Utah shirt, but it was always received with a smile.
With many houses divided, many tents had a mixture of BYU and Utah fans playing corn hole together, sharing meals together and, most importantly, sharing laughs together.
I don’t know the BYU-Utah rivalry of the past, but it seemed like it was left on the field for the players to decide. Fans were just there for the ride.
But then come game time, the Cougars finally got the win they’ve been searching for more than a decade for. The game was exciting and fun. It was the perfect game to open up BYU’s home schedule with and to welcome fans back with.
It may have been a late night, but it’s definitely going to be tucked into my mental folder of most memorable games I’ve covered throughout my career.
• Gordon Monson talks about “the mark of a better day for BYU football” in his latest column.
• In case you somehow missed it, here’s all the news about BYU joining the Big 12. And here’s how the Cougars will manage to break down future schedules after joining the Power Five conference in 2023.
• BYU finally gets its Big 12 moment: How ‘the planets aligned’ to bring the Cougars back from independence — from The Athletic.
• How national media reacted to BYU win over Utah, from Robby McCombs from SB Nation.
• Take a look at Zach Wilson’s first NFL career touchdown pass here.