Earliest Football Memory

I’m posting some of my earliest memories of Utah Football, and hoping others will do the same.

As a young boy I went to Ute football games with my father, grandfather, and other relatives, occasionally, but the first game I actually remember in much detail, was against the University of Wyoming, in 1969.

I was in junior high at Bryant, and went with a group of friends from school. My motivation was the knowledge that a young lady I was interested in would be there with her parents; kids would escape their parents, get together in the north portion of the stadium and hang out. Old Ute Stadium was a great place to watch games particularly as kids (it was expanded and renamed Rice Stadium a few years later).

I went, mostly focused on hanging out with friends, but the atmosphere that day was electric, the game very exciting, and Utah won 34-10. It was a typical fall day in old Ute Stadium, with a HUGE crowd. I had so much fun with friends and watching the football that I was hooked. I attended fairly regularly for many years, and have had season tickets with my family since the early nineties.

Remembering the game today, I took the time to find some details about it online. I didn’t realize any of this before, but it was a record crowd, both teams were 6-1, and ranked, Wyo #16, Utah #18, and it was the year of the famous “Black 14” incident which is being celebrated today in Provo (BYU had played Wyo and lost 3 weeks earlier in Laramie).

If you’re interested in any more details about this game, check the link below:

Also, a photograph of the stadium around that timeframe:

Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Outside of listening to the call on KALL, and the very rare occasion they televised the games, it was until fall 1987 when I finally attended a game. I was just back from Active Duty and attending school, it was my second term back. School wasn’t in yet, but I wanted to see a game. We beat the Lobos that day. It was pretty damned empty in the student section…ok everything was pretty empty but the NEZ. Was told by folks who were there once school started attendance would pick up.


The BYU game in 1988 was my first attended in the rivalry. Temp never broke about 32 degrees. Stadium was packed and rocking (ok the student section was almost blind drunk, but I digress). My soon to be wife was cold and hated it, but I was having a blast. Watched BYU go through 2 QB’s before throwing Detmer in. When he threw his first TD pass, he ran over to whoop up at our student section. We unloaded with snowballs. Truth is that game was our bowl game that season - 57-28 our most decisive victory that season, and it was against THOSE GUYS!

It was glorious.


I was a baseball and hockey kid growing up, and it wasn’t until high school when I went to my first Utah football game. A friend had an extra ticket to the BYU game in1978 and lo and behold, a win for Utah. So, my fandom started off pretty good.

The Greatest Utah Football Games Ever: November 18, 1978 - Utah vs. BYU.

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I’m envious of you both. I was not at either of those games, but did sit through several of the losses to BYU during the 70’s and 80’s. Those were tough times.

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I remember watching the Utes on TV in the Liberty Bowl in 1964. Roy Jefferson was the star WR and would go on to play several years with the Steelers. Jefferson would be my childhood favorite and I would wear his number 80 until I became a full-time DB in high school. Merv Jackson was my basketball favorite and I would always wear his No. 10. I was 8 in 1964 and although I do not specifically recall any of the games that year, I am sure I attended all of the home games with my father.

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My earliest memories are watching Popcorn Rodgers run wild on the hard Astroturf at Rice Stadium.


That is about my earliest as well, right at the end of the Howard era. My dad sold tickets, so we would get to the games a couple of hours early. We would roam the student section and south end zone area before the game and for the first half. We would play some touch football or flys up in the grass area.

I remember a snowy BYU game where we were so cold we would we would hang out in the restroom in the south end zone that had the round trough urinal.


First game I went to was when I was a student. We beat Colorado St. 30-6. 1978


A Chris Fuamatu-Maʻafala run where I learned how to pronounce his name. I was like 6.


Sitting in the north end zone on the UTES tarmac thing with the other kids is my first in person game memory.

Watching Utah in the Fassel era beat BYU and an hour later watching a part of the uprights being carried down my street is another. I’ve been watching Utah football and basketball longer than I can remember though.


I was 8 or 9 which would have made it 1959 or 60. it was BYU at Utah, my ward had tickets for the visitors section and took a group of young men (kids) to the game. Everyone in the section was rooting for the Y, but Utah was kicking their butts. So me being the obnoxious kid I was was yelling as loud as I could for Utah. After that, I listened to and on rare occasions watched as many Utah football and basketball games as I could find.


I’ve been trying to remember when the tarmac thing came into being and when it went away, does anyone know?

I don’t recall it being there in the late 60’s, so I’m assuming it was created during the transition of old Ute Stadium to Rice Stadium. I also, do not recall if it was still in place just prior to Rice Eccles construction. Anyone?

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I remember Chunky Coleman ripping through the West Virginia defense, and weird end zones.

The memory that sticks out for me occurred in 1972, when Utah was down 0 - 27 to Arizona at the beginning of the 4th Quarter. Many of the spectators had left, including 2 of my brothers. They missed 2 long bombs to Steve Odom, a long pick-6 by Steve Marshall, and a last second roll-out run by Don Van Galder for the 28 - 27 win. To this day I still rib my brothers for leaving that game.


IIRC, the tarmac existed between the renovations of ~1982 (including construction of the original SEZ seating) until the stadium rebuild of the late 1990s.


That would make sense… I don’t recall it ever being there when I was a kid, but I do remember it and remember many years of watching kids there and thinking it would have been fun when I was young.

I’m surprised that I have not been able to find a description of it, or any photos of it.

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I saw Ron Coleman today, actually. Great gentleman.

He’s retired from being a VP at the U, he’s a little chunkier and grayer, but he looks good! Utah is a better place because he stuck around after playing.


That’s my earliest memory, as well. Steve Odom was incredible. He was the Errol Tucker before Errol Tucker, the Steve Smith before Steve Smith.

A few years later my dad took me to some kind of semi-pro track meet at the Salt Palace where Odom beat Bob Hayes in the 60m indoors.


I seem to remember his nickname as being “Blue Moon”. Does that ring a bell with anyone else?

Anybody remember Chuck Johanson from the early 70’s? I only vaguely remember him actually playing, (I think i was chasing girls as much as watching the games in those years) but he worked for some period of time in the 80s or 90s for the same organization as my wife, and I got to know him a bit through company social events. He was a great guy!

I just did a google search and discovered he pass away in 2015 :frowning: