The Zona faithful got their wish last Saturday. Arizona won a close one, after going 1-10 in games decided by three points or less in the last 8 years. Nick Folk got the fans back up on their feet with one second left in the game when he kicked the game-winning field goal that seemed to be willed through the uprights by the Wildcat Nation.
The crowd was fired up and ready for this one, an amazing sight for those of us who got seats to the game (and over 58,00 of us did). After a fumble on BYU's first play from scrimmage was recovered by the Cats, the crowd was at a fever pitch. Unfortunately, we didn't have much else to cheer for (save Chris Henry's bruising 54-yd. run) until Folk connected at the game's end.
Part of the blame for the drop in intensity from the crowd can be placed on the game itself. Virtually no offense from the Cats, Willie T's lack of touch on many passes, and a defense that shut down the Cougars' running game but gave up almost 300 yards in the air. I blame the band and cheerleaders, though, for not seizing on a fantastic opportunity and keeping the fans whipped up. The band again disappeared into the crowd after their pre-game and halftime routines and don't seem to understand how important they are to the homefield advantage. It was a pleasant change to not see the section leaders parade around the track during the 3rd quarter, but it would have been nice to hear "Bear Down" and "Fight Wildcats" more than one or two times during the game. Come on, band - pick up those freakin' instruments! If you truly are "The Best Band in the History of the World" we need to hear more of you. And if all the halftime shows are going to be based on "Radiohead" music - yikes!
And Wilma is right - the crowd needs to get more involved in the game. It's our job to pump up the team, not vice versa. One good thing about a close game like Saturday's - everyone stays til the end.
Maybe we can see what a real football crowd looks like in Baton Rouge this weekend - LSU has got it going on.