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Game Day Experience: Boise State

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A recap of my first game at the Blue Turf.

NCAA Football: San Diego State at Boise State Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

I was in Boise two weekends ago to catch the game against San Diego State. This post won’t be a game recap, as Zach already summarized the game well from the Boise State view of things. Instead, I want to focus on my experience going to a Boise State game (or a Mountain West game for that matter) for the first time.

Walking to the game, seeing seemingly everyone in the city wearing Boise State gear. I definitely got a college town vibe as they appear to live for the Broncos. Not having any pro teams, their attention is undivided on their beloved team. Although the rest of the city doesn’t shut down before and during the game (I assume anyway), it’s clear to see it’s the main focus on game days.

I arrived about two hours before the game. First to get some blue clothes to stay in accordance with the color scheme in my section (I certainly didn’t want to make a bad impression). Then I walked around the tailgate area. I met a few Twitter friends in real life and that was pretty cool. They showed me around and explained how things normally go pre-game. The tailgate fan area (don’t remember what it’s official name is) is pretty cool. Have food and drinks, some things for kids, and a big screen to watch other football games on. There is live music and it looked like a cool place to hang out before the game. I can vouch that the pulled pork sandwich is very good.

Walking around the stadium, isn’t a bad seat in the house. I didn’t know how it would be ending up in the upper deck but the view was just as good as when I was walking around on lower one during warm ups. It’s a smaller stadium in person than I would’ve thought from TV, but it’s a great place to watch a football game. I’ve heard some critiques about some aspects of the game day experience and while I won’t go into detail here, I will say many were warranted. One kind of funny example, at halftime I was in the line for the bathroom, which was pretty long and out the door. After about five minutes we got close to the actual bathroom and realized the line veered off in two directions; one to the bathroom and the other to the concessions. Not sure if that’s normal protocol or not, but struck me as odd.

Speaking of seats, I had an enjoyable time in mine. I was in section 125 and those around me seemed quite surprised to find someone sitting in that seat. The guy next to me was sitting next to his family and brought a friend over. When the friend saw me, he sat on the other end of the row. The guy, who was very nice, was like “You’re in the single seat? I told my friend it’s always open. I’ve been sitting here for years and have never seen anyone sit here.” We will just call section 125, row C, seat 14 my seat from now on.

The section I was in was full of nice, talkative people. I had conversations off and on with some people. We talked about some of the close plays, debated whether penalties were actually penalties or not and what units on each team were playing well or not well. Even though I knew none of them around me, I felt part of their little group for a few hours and was able to contribute to a game discussion in the moment. I was reminded of how a common interest like watching a game can unite a group of otherwise strangers.

About the crowd in general, it got loud for the big moments. I can’t compare it to other games there, but it definitely played a factor, multiple times forcing false starts or time outs from San Diego State. On the other side, the crowd wears their emotions on their sleeve. When the interceptions, failed third down conversations, and inability to move the ball happened, the fans grew restless. A consistent theme throughout the game was the crowd seemingly on the brink of getting really into it. It was apparent how much they were eagerly waiting for a big offense play. They got up for big defensive plays but as the game dragged on, they could tell the offense wasn’t going to give them what they wanted.

During the game, the things I’ve heard from people or witnessed on TV were all apparent. Every time they moved the chains, the PA guy would say “and that’s another Broncos...” and the stadium would reply “first down!” (this actually took until the second quarter to debut sadly). During breaks in the action, one side of the stadium would yell “BOISE” and the other would counter with “STATE”. Of course, there was the ESPN darling Kohl the tee-dog, who retrieved the tee after kickoffs. Unfortunately, he didn’t get a lot of action in this low scoring game.

After the game, all were able to go on the blue turf 20 minutes after the game ended. I’m sure the novelty has worn off for many, but I thought it was a really cool idea for fans. I walked around and took pictures. A few of the players came out, mainly to talk with their families. Ezekiel Noa had a large group of family there, all decked out in unique hoodies with Noa on the back. I was standing at mid-field and got to talking to a couple wearing SDSU gear. They were very nice and I learned they went to high school with BSU safeties Coach Franklin. He came out and though I was hoping he came to where we were, they began walking over to him and of course I didn’t want to tag along to their mini-reunion.

Overall, it was a fantastic experience. Although one always wants to see the home team win, everything else was great. It would be cool to go to a MWC game every year, but we will start with this one and see what happens.