Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Tale of Two Seasons: Part X of XIII

A tattered and beaten Cosmo the Coug (as he deserves) usually hangs by the neck from my doorknob throughout the year, except for a few choice occasions when he braves the outdoors…to hang by his neck from the MUSS flag on my car. Anyone who calls himself/herself a Utes fan should appreciate this gesture—an indication of how important the U vs. Y game means to everyone.

But I can honestly say the game against TCU was even more significant last year, and this year proved the same.
Before your Utes pride lashes out at me, remember last year.

As if the hype of No.10 Utah vs. No.11 TCU was not enough, it was the first time the Utes would be in black jerseys—the first blackout game in school history.
The Utes fans responded and Rice-Eccles Stadium was rocking (literally)…at least until TCU scored 10 points in 9 minutes. Jaws dropped and worry lines began to appear.

The Utah defense settled in, and finally the game slowed down. It became the defensive battle I was expecting. After two Louie Sakoda field goals, the fans came back to life.
The Utes pinned the Horned Frogs deep right in front of the notorious north end zone. I was standing 15 yards from the play right in between the players and the fans, and I could FEEL the noise. I knew TCU quarterback Andy Dalton could too because he promptly stood up and called a Timeout.
The 3rd quarter was the peak for each team's defense as the score held tight at 10-6. The 4th proved to be one of the most amazing quarters of the 2008 season.
TCU found a rhythm again and were moving the ball, but Utah had a "Bend don’t break" defense. The Horned Frogs managed to grab two field goal attempts, which they promptly missed both times.

After the second miss, fans could feel that something magical was about to happen. Brian Johnson led the offense 80 yards, capping it off with a pass to Freddie Brown for the touchdown and a 3-point lead.
The fans rushed the field to celebrate their undefeated Utes. The only thing standing between the Utes and a BCS game was San Diego State and the y.
This year, the tables were turned. Utah was the team with a loss going on the road to face a top-ranked undefeated team who were wearing new jerseys. That is where the script changed. TCU scored quickly and Utah responded to tie the game.
Then TCU started to kick our asses, and the feeling amongst the Utah fans in attendance was "Let's just go home."
I was prepared for a loss because TCU has been playing well this year, but I thought it would be close…10 points or less please.
A final score of 55-28 was hard to take, and even thinking about it now it makes me feel queasy. However, as I said to the TCU fans before the game, “If the frogs win, I will jump on the bandwagon for them to get in and win a BCS game." So GO FROGS!!!

Now Utah will turn their attention to San Diego and the cougs to close out the year again. But I have a hunch it'll work out…


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