It was a good first game to go to, since it went down to the wire, and finished with UofA's kicker drilling a wind-aided 48-yard field goal to win 16-13. It was surprisingly windy after the first quarter, but an excellent night to be outside. Even the Davis Monthan flyboys weren't flying overhead.
I've read that BYU has a bunch of 22 to 25 year olds on their team, due to the two-year mission requirement for Mormons.
Sidebar: It sort of amazes me that BYU is a university founded by Brigham Young, a "prophet" that warped Christianity and helped make a "chosen people" (could there be anything more self-congratulatory -- I'm thinking of Hitler's Volk), and who famously wrote:
"The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 11, page 269)
What would it be like to teach at BYU? I mean, what if you're Jewish or atheist or whatever? And I feel sorry for their African-American athletes, since there's so few of them -- there's not a lot of minorities in Provo, I'm assuming. Okay, end sidebar.
UofA won because of two momentum changes: one long run by RB Chris Henry and a deep pass catch by WR Syndrick Steptoe. UofA also got some beneficial calls from the officials. BYU seemed to be the better, and better prepared, team. Their QB passed for 300+ yards, they wrapped on tackles, blocked well (though not on running plays) and so on. UofA had better athletes at critical positions: RB and two outstanding WRs: Steptoe and Anthony Johnson. UofA QB Willie Tuitama loves going deep, but his accuracy could be better and he's reckless (he threw two INTs).
There were a lot of indications that this was the first game of the season, especially for the UofA. They couldn't tackle for heck. I swear I saw at least a dozen failed tackles. Their defensive secondary got straight up picked apart. They had no pass rush on defense, even on blitzes. Their offensive line had a measly surge. They won on a couple big plays and good kicking; BYU pretty much lost the game because their snapper and holder on PATs and field goals were green -- that's how they wasted one automatic 30-yard FG, which would have given them 16 points. The BYU punter had a couple moonshots -- one of his kicks was 79 yards.
I'm definitely going to more home games, although for this one I couldn't find people to go with me. The game was a sellout, BTW: 58,500.
Where I sat had a couple interesting narratives. There was this big extended family that I more or less sat with, a classic Tucson family that crossed ethnic and class differences (Hispanic and white, FYI). They were fun. Then, a few rows below me, a blue-collar guy got carried away super-angry about something I couldn't identify, and proceeded to berate his wife, in front of his kids with some of their friends, in deplorable fashion. Eventually he was left alone to shout at the officials, pathetically. Later, I bought a few burritos, and had to apologize to a father because my salsa fell after a gust of wind and caught some of his daughter's jacket. "I'm really sorry," I said. "Can I give you some money?" He refused, of course, and wasn't angry.
All in all, it was a fine time. I must say, I wasn't impressed by UofA's middle linebacker, Ronnie Palmer, who was too slow to cover BYU's tight end. And the kickoff team didn't run with much abandon.
It was good to sort of enter back into a world I had forgotten -- football, frats, Bud Light, girls dressed up, chants. Felt familiar but distant.