Press Pass: Maverik madness
LOGAN, Utah — Hey fans, DJ Johnson here with this week’s version of “Press Pass.”
Well folks, it’s a short week for the Cowboys and the highly anticipated Border War is right around the corner.
It’s football in November, and we’re anticipating a snow storm to come rolling into southern Wyoming tomorrow, which is supposed and last through Thursday, so it ought to be a chilly night in Laramie come Friday night.
Although the Pokes took another tough loss on the road in Logan, Utah, we can easily forget the last two close losses with a dismantling of the Colorado State "Sheep." With only two games left, this game is crucial to get us to that seven-win plateau, which should hopefully solidify a bowl game in December or January.
Let’s take a look at some of the adventures we had while in Utah:
So, I’ve often barked about other teams’ mascots -- reference my Tulsa and New Mexico Press Pass articles -- but I have to hand it to Utah State's mascot, Big Blue. Not only did he roam the sidelines and the stands, but this dude opened the game by riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle onto the field, leading a group of 20-plus Harley’s around the entire stadium on the sidelines. You’re definitely not as cool as our Pistol Pete, but I do give you props for riding into the stadium in style!
Have you ever wondered about all of those random statistics that you see stream across the television screen? Well, I often wondered who in the world was keeping stats such as completion percentages on third or fourth downs, while in the red zone with under two minutes to go in the game. Well, here’s your answer. Each conference designates stat takers who roam the sidelines and record the most minute details of every play. Here you see a Mountain West statistician recording data, which you will eventually see roll across the bottom of your screen in some form or fashion.
I have to "hand" it to Wyoming tight end, Nate Weinman. When an injury forced his "hand" to play or sit out, the sophomore from Creston, Ohio, suited up because when playing NCAA Division-I football, it requires all "hands" on deck! It was quite the wrap that Wyoming’s medical staffed created for Weinman and I honestly couldn’t believe the effort that went in to stabilizing the injury to ensure no further damage was done. It was funny, because in pregame warmups, Weinman was actually catching a few passes … and if you don’t believe me, you should because I was there, and witnessed it first"hand!" OK, OK, OK … I’m going to wash my "hands" of the commentary on this photo! (If you like my humor, the next time you see me, you should definitely give me a "hand.")
Speaking of no "hands," how about the adaptability of this USU symbol player! Televised games can undoubtedly last for hours and hunger sets in for everyone. As a fan, you always have the option to head to the concession stand to grub on some hot dogs, nachos or fries. However, as a band member, you must improvise and eat what you can, when you can, however you can. I wonder if she’s an Eli Apple fan?!?
OK, lets be honest -- I absolutely love being on the sidelines of all the incredible stadiums that I get to go to throughout the United States. Complaining isn’t my forte; however, there is one pet peeve that I have at stadiums and it has to do with the access behind the benches that photographers are given. Some stadiums, such as Qualcomm Stadium (it’ll always be Qualcomm to me) in San Diego, are spacious and wide open, while others, like Maverik Stadium in Logan, require some serious maneuvering in order to get from one end zone to the other. Here you can see the limited space behind the bench that we had to weave through, while burning the hair off my legs, slamming my cameras/lenses into the concrete wall, or twisting an ankle on the "curb." Rough life, I know, but someone has to do it!
Couldn’t pass up including this guy. Not sure why, but he just looks like a guy I could sit at the bar with and drink 32-ounce PBRs all night long.
You never know when you’re going to have a Pistol Pete sighting, especially in midair! On Tyler Vander Waal’s second rushing touchdown, the ol’ Poke towel got suspended in air, making one wonder how it actually got there. Any guesses from you readers? (And no, I didn’t Photoshop it in!)
If you were at the game, or watching it on Television, you surely heard the loud cannon that was fired after every Utah State score. Here, members of Utah State’s Army ROTC detachment, man the monster that puts the ringing in a few of the folks roaming the sidelines.
Right outside the Aggies meeting room is this display of former USU players who have made it to the NFL. The plaque beside each helmet lists the former players who have played on that team … if you look close, out of the 32 NFL teams, the only team that has never had an Aggie alum, are the Houston Texans. I personally thought this was a pretty cool landmark within Maverik Stadium.
Game over … as I exited the stadium around 8:30 p.m., this was the view of the stadium. Not a soul on the field or in the stands, just total silence. It’s hard to imagine that just a few hours before, there were 16,364 fans screaming as their teams battled for a win.
Alright sports fans, it’s a short week, and the anticipation for this year’s Border War is bounding. 7220sports.com will be in full effect on Friday at War Memorial Stadium as the Pokes pursue their much needed seventh win of the season. So, pack you long-johns and beanies and start making your way to Laramie to root on your Cowboys this Friday night. Go Pokes!