The MUSS – Provoking false starts since 2002

The MUSS packed with students at the Standford game last fall.–Brent Uberty Colby Patterson

The MUSS packed with students at the Standford game last fall.–Brent Uberty

If you look in the dictionary, the word ‘‘muss’’ is defined as a state of disorder and confusion. At the U, the MUSS is known for creating just that for the opposing team — a state of disorder and confusion.

The MUSS originally got its name from lyrics in the U’s fight song “Utah Man.” The fans sing, “no other gang of college men dare meet us in the muss,” but as of late, the MUSS has become an acronym for the Mighty Utah Student Section.

The MUSS was started in 2002 with the intent to bring more students to the football games and to organize them as a real student section at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Two short years after its creation, the MUSS was 6,000-strong and recognized by ESPN as a top-five student section in the country. In That same year, the Utes went 6-0 at home in front of the MUSS, which propelled the Utes to an undefeated season and a BCS-bowl blowout win over the Pittsburgh Panthers in the Fiesta Bowl.

“There were students that would come to games, but it wasn’t really organized,” said MUSS president Brad Kiernan. “The idea behind it was to create a home-field advantage for the football team.”

One of the MUSS’s most recognizable traditions is the Third Down jump. During a Third Down Jump, the MUSS jumps around and gets as loud as they can during the opponents’ third down in hopes that the other team will get confused and falter.

Another MUSS tradition is the false start tally. This tradition consists of hanging up the number five for every false start the opposing team’s offense commits. Hanging a five is respresentative of the five-yard penalty that is associated with committing a false start.

“Some of the initiatives this year is to try to incorporate the upper bowl more,” Kieran said. “When you watch games that the lower bowl is really into it, but the farther you go up the stands, it dies down a bit.”

Even though the MUSS was originally started for football games, it has since expanded into men’s basketball, women’s gymnastics and baseball. In fact, throwing up the U, a tradition that is seen at nearly every Utah sport, was first started at a gymnastics meet. After a routine, gymnasts would throw up their hands in the shape of a “U.” This act would soon be copied by the MUSS, and now U fants flash the U at every sport and in almost all selfies.

The MUSS for the baseball team, on the other hand, is trying to come up with some traditions of its own, as it just got started this last season.

“I think [the MUSS] has really driven student attendance this year for baseball,” Kieran said. “I think student attendance this year has been the highest it’s been in recent years. I would consider for it being in its first year, pretty successful.”

The baseball MUSS has started a strikeout tally, a similar tradition to the false start tally in football. But instead of hanging up fives, the baseball MUSS hangs up a “K” every time a Ute pitcher strikes out an opposing batter. Another tradition modeled after the football team was the 2-strike, 2-out stand. This idea was taken from the Third Down Jump, but instead of trying to mess up the opposing team, it is more of a rally behind the Ute pitcher and defense to record the last out of the inning.

Overall, the MUSS is one of the biggest organizations on campus. Greg Anderson, a three-year member of the MUSS, mentioned that being a part of this organization is something that is unparalleled. From all the chants, cheers and yells to just the general support of his team, Anderson said the experience cannot be replaced.

“To make the most out of your college experience, you should join the MUSS,” he said.

b.jasarevic@chronicle.utah.edu

@BenJasarevic