Coming off wins the past two weeks, the Broncos came into the game on Friday, Nov. 6 ready to compete against their rivals, the Brigham Young University (BYU) Cougars. The game resulted in a loss of 51-17.
With Boise State nationally ranked at 21 in the AP polls, BYU was ranked number 9. This was the highest-ranked away team in Boise State history the Broncos have ever played on The Blue
Unlike the first home game against Utah State where the stands of Albertsons Stadium were barren, the CDH approved 1,100 fans in the stadium. This was a test run for the university to see if fans will be allowed back for the remainder of the season.
Student-athletes’ families, the Blue Thunder Marching Band and students made up the 1,100 fans in the stands. A limited number of tickets were available to full-time, fee-paying students. Students were required to register in advance to be entered into a lottery and had to provide a negative coronavirus test to enter the stadium.
Seats were spread out amongst the stadium for fans to sit in. Two seats were reserved for every six feet of the upper deck of the east side of the stadium.
“Sitting up in the stands definitely felt weird seeing everyone in masks and socially distanced,” said freshman elementary education major Jessie Schulman. “My best friend and I made the most out of it and still had an amazing time cheering on the Broncos.”
Spread out amongst the north end zone, Blue Thunder brought energy to the field that was lacking during the Utah State game. When hype videos or music wasn’t playing, the band was there to play band cadences or a fight song. They even performed at halftime from the stands.
“Being in the stands was such a privilege. It was something we all worked really hard for months to be prepared and safe for,” said Blue Thunder Marching Band member Michaela Denning. “It was a reward to be there for the team, but so sad to see the absence of students and spirit squad.”
Even with Blue Thunder playing a majority of the game and fans in the stands, Albertsons Stadium still lacked the upbeat energy Bronco Nation brings.
The Cougars’ sideline lacked no energy which reflected in their performance on the field. From kickoff, their sideline carried a lot of noise. No fans from BYU were allowed into Albertsons Stadium which may have fed into their motivation.
With Hank Bachmeier out for the second game in a row, the Broncos cycled through three quarterbacks. Starter Jack Sears was out due to an injury in the first quarter. True Freshman Cade Fennegan and Andy Peters entered the game after Sears. Fennegan came in during the first quarter and played until 9:33 in the third. Peters finished out the remainder of the third and fourth quarters.
Although the Broncos lost, they have a week to regroup before their next home game against Colorado State.
“Anytime you lose in anything in life it stings and at the end of the day I feel like we need to accept it and let it fuel what we decide to do going forward,” said senior linebacker Riley Whimpey. “Obviously there is a lot for us to learn from to come back and fix and we’re going to get back to work.”
Moving forward, decisions on having fans in the stadium are being made on a day-to-day basis. With coronavirus cases rising in Idaho, the university looks to find a way to continue to bring fans into Albertsons Stadium while taking all safety precautions necessary.