BYU Football: Calling All Cougars to LaVell Edwards Stadium


Oct 25, 2013; Provo, UT, USA; The Brigham Young Cougars take the field prior to a game against the Boise State Broncos at Lavell Edwards Stadium. Brigham Young won 37-20. Mandatory Credit: Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

In 2005, BYU hosted TCU, who was a new member of the Mountain West Conference and was a team that was expected to make some noise competing for a championship.  It was Bronco Mendenhall’s first year as head coach at BYU and the Cougars were trying to reestablish themselves as the premiere institution in the conference.

The game went to overtime.  It was a back and forth battle.  BYU had control of the game before a comeback by TCU gave the Frogs a 44-41 lead with 1:25 remaining.  John Beck led the team down the field and Jared McLaughlin hit a 39 yard field goal to send the game to an extra period.  Unfortunately for BYU, things did not go their way in overtime.  They got the ball first and scored, but a bad snap on the PAT kept the lead at six.  TCU scored on a questionable 3 yard run that was strangely upheld by official review, and made the extra point.  Just like that, Bronco Mendenhall started his regime 1-2 with his lone win against Easter Illinois.

I wasn’t there.  That day, X96 had its 11th annual BASH concert at the Utah State Fairpark.  I wanted to see bands like Hawthorne Heights, The All American Rejects, and MxPx rather than cheer the Cougars on that day.  When I finally heard the score to the game, I felt sick.  I felt like it was my fault they lost and I hated myself for going to the concert.  I wouldn’t make that mistake again.

2005 was a special season because it was the start of the Bronco Mendenhall era at BYU.  They were able to return to a bowl and set themselves up for the 2006 season, one of the best in BYU history.  At that time, BYU games weren’t a priority to me over punk rock concerts or activities with my friends.  Though the 2005 season didn’t look great on paper, it paved the way for BYU’s return to respectable football.

The 2012 and 2013 seasons of BYU football were not  overly impressive.  A pair of 8-5 records leaves a lot to be desired and BYU fans may feel apathetic about the team at this point.  There might be fans who are upset about the inability to win big games, lack of blockbuster opponents coming to Provo, or late night games during the week and on cold Saturdays in November.  These are all understandable concerns and with BYU’s ESPN and BYUtv presence, games are easily seen on your couch and on your own schedule.

I want to warn against that thinking.  I want to help, encourage, and even inspire BYU fans to make it to the games.  2014 is different.  Taysom Hill is one of the most exciting football players BYU has ever had.  Robertson Daniel, Michael Davis, Craig Bills, Dallin Leavitt, and Jordan Johnson make up the best defensive backfield BYU has ever had.  Jamaal Williams, Jordan Leslie, Mitch Mathews, and Adam Hine are all weapons that make Hill even better.  It is a special time for BYU football.

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I am not going to say that a BYU fan in the stadium is more of a fan or a better fan than someone who watches from home.  I don’t care about real fans or fake fans.  This team deserves to play in front of 64,000 fans each week.  The team will make it worth your while.

BYU has come a long way to make the game day experience better.  The Cougar Walk happens on the east side of the stadium two hours before kick each week.  The excitement can be felt at these events by both the team and the fans.

Tailgating has improved.  Getting together early before the game helps to avoid traffic and you don’t have to pay $7 for a lousy hot dog in the stadium.  Getting together with other fans is a great way to improve your experience.  If you can’t make the tailgate before, you can head over there after the game.

Nothing says college football to me like hearing the drumline.  Being able to stand by the visitors’ locker room while the teams warm up on the field and listen to the drumline has become something I look forward to before each game.  Hearing those drums lets me know it’s almost game time.

Fireworks before the game as the team enters the field, a former player running the alumni flag out, and some old-timer no one knows lighting the Y are all things that add to the game day experience as well.  All of this is not even considering the most amazing setting in college football along the Wasatch Mountains, as opposing teams and media always point out.

All of those things can be felt each season.  The difference this year is the product on the field.  We know that BYU has been consistently good under Bronco.  This year is better.  Bronco has said this team can compete with anyone, anywhere, and at any time.  This year it’s true.  Every year Bronco says he loves his team.  This year, you should too.

For BYU to be taken seriously on a national stage, we need to fill the stadium on Thursday and each game this season.  We need to be loud.  The Big 12 invite that we all want won’t come with empty corners in LES.  Recruits all comment on the big stadium in Provo, but they won’t come if the fans don’t.

Home opponents this season may not seem like the most interesting teams.  The Cougars host Houston, Virginia, Utah State, Nevada, UNLV, and Savannah State.  I don’t think it matters who they play.  Coaches, players, and media have all made it a point to encourage fans to come out this season.  They want us there.  Sure there are extenuating circumstances that could keep us from coming.  I’m missing class, I know people are missing work, and some are making long distance trips from other states.  This team deserves it.

Most of all, I don’t think BYU fans will want to miss this season.  Much like Jimmer’s senior year in basketball, it’s unknown when we will see this kind of product on the field at BYU again.  A stout defense and an electrifying offense could make 2014 one of the best seasons ever for BYU football.  Do you want to miss it?