“When I came to Utah as an assistant in 1994, the student section consisted of four students and a dog. And the dog was a stray.”
−Utah Head Football Coach Kyle Whittingham
In 2001, average student attendance at Utah home football games was around 500 students per game. In 2002, the Alumni Association and Department of Athletics partnered to start the Utah Football Fan Club, which was renamed The MUSS (Mighty Utah Student Section) in 2003. And the rest is history. The MUSS has grown to 6,000 members and was named the nation’s fourth best student section by NCAA.com in 2014.
Growing The MUSS to its current size took more than great football. MUSS Board members would take to street corners near the U to urge students to join. The MUSS also led the campaign to get Utah fans to wear red to games. Membership grew to 5,000 by the 2008 season. In 2010, an additional 1,000 standing-room only memberships were added.
The MUSS Bus 2015 will head to Seattle in November when Utah takes on Washington. Hundreds of MUSS members create great memories on each bus trip. The original MUSS Bus (pictured) took around 50 Utah students on a 34-hour each way jaunt to the Liberty Bowl in Memphis in late December of 2003. Before Utah’s move to the Pac-12, MUSS Bus trips were usually to either San Diego or Las Vegas. Since joining the Pac-12, a wider range of options is available. Recent trips include USC, Washington, Cal and Stanford.
The MUSS has always had a close bond with the Utah football team. Starting with former Head Coach Urban Meyer and continuing with Head Coach Kyle Whittingham, The MUSS has been recognized on team helmets.
Another great tradition between Utah Football and The MUSS started in 2003 and continues today. Following every game, home or road, win or lose, the team comes over to The MUSS section to join with the students in singing the “Utah Fight Song.”
The 3rd Down Jump became a MUSS tradition starting with the 44-6 upset of No. 11 UCLA in 2007. The bedlam produced on 3rd down by The MUSS caused several false starts on the Bruins.
“We didn’t handle the crowd noise and lost our poise,” said then-UCLA Coach Karl Dorrell. “We stalled on several crucial drives.”
The MUSS now hangs a “5” over the stadium railing for every opponent false start.
The MUSS is typically a sea of red, but once each season The MUSS becomes a black hole. The first blackout game was in 2008 (pictured) when the then No. 10 Utes defeated No. 11 TCU on the way to a 13-0 season, a trouncing of Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, and a No. 2 final national ranking.
The MUSS supports the Utes win or lose, hot or cold, clear or stormy.
The MUSS is known for its traditions, both encouraged like the 3rd Down Jump, and discouraged like storming the field. And The MUSS has had ample storming opportunities over the past 11 seasons. It started with a BCS-busting win over rival BYU in 2004. In 2008, The MUSS led the crowd onto the field after improbable comeback wins over Oregon State and TCU, and after a rout of BYU that sent Utah to the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
Speaking of BYU, in 2012 The MUSS stormed the field three times during the final seconds, but BYU was given another play on the first two occasions. When BYU’s game-tying field goal attempt smacked off the upright, the third time was the charm.
Utah students have returned to the Jon M. Huntsman Center to support Utah Basketball. The MUSS has grown to create a raucous home court advantage for the Runnin’ Utes. And coming off a Sweet 16 appearance, the 2015-16 season looks extremely promising.
Joining The MUSS gives you more than just football tickets. It provides a bond for the U’s student body. The MUSS is focused on providing not only a huge home field advantage, but also building relationships between students.
Following the 2012 rivalry game, Salt Lake Tribune columnist Kurt Kragthorpe wrote:
“In its own way, the MUSS validated the rivalry. People obviously do care about this thing. And all night, I was marveling about how Utah’s students can affect the outcome of games.”
Don’t miss your chance to join the greatest student section in the country and be a part of the biggest home opener in Utah Football history.
Utah vs. Michigan is Sept. 3, and trust us, you will want to be there. Head to themussblog.com for details on how to register. Do it now because seats are limited.