Something was missing at Saturday’s University of Colorado football game, and for once, it wasn’t defense.
The Buffs got there first win at Folsom Field in front of a passionate, yet season-low crowd.
According to CUBuffs.com, only 48,111 fans showed up to the game versus Arizona. That’s 1,421 less than the previous lowest showing (versus Cal) and 5,502 less than capacity.
To put things into perspective, there are 5,146 graduate students at CU. If all of them had joined the group at Folsom Field, the stadium would still have been below capacity.
So what kept fans away? Was it the weather, the competition?
For Spencer Kassinger, it was the team itself. He said that he gave up hope after the Buffs blew their lead against Washington State. He skipped the last two home games and called this season a disappointment.
Even Saturday’s 48-29 win wasn’t enough to change Kassinger’s mind.
“It kind of added to the disappointment a little because the way we played on Saturday was the way I expected them to play all season,” Kassinger said.
For other students, even a lackluster season couldn’t keep them away from the game.
Senior Esteban Hernandez said his emotional attachment to CU was his driving force in going to the final home game of his college career.
“I always have faith in my team,” Hernandez said. “I don’t care who we play. My loyalty will always lie with CU, and I believe in their abilities. I know it’s been a rough season, but I never stop supporting my team. There’s nothing like watching a football team that represents your school. It’s absolutely magical.”
While attendance was reasonably low, some fanatics still rushed the field in celebration after the game.
Sophomore Robert Denton joined the crowd, but said his intentions were different than those of many students.
Denton went on the field to take pictures of the fans. He also saw this as an opportunity to make up for not being at Folsom to rush at last season’s Georgia game.
Although he joined in the celebration, he thought that fans were overreacting to the team’s first Pac-12 win.
“Rushing the field was stupid,” Denton said. “We got one win against a bad team. The people who were booing the people rushing the field were right.”
Hernandez didn’t rush the field, but did walk down later to congratulate the team and sing the fight song.
“I decided it was the right thing to do,” Hernandez said. “I wanted to celebrate alongside the senior players, as a senior myself. I wanted to go out there and personally thank the players … It was special – so much fun, so much joy.”
For many fans, joy has been a hard thing to come by this season. But for Hernandez, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat were all worth it.
“This season was completely worth it,” Hernandez said. “I have no regrets. It was painful watching my team lose, but it was glorious seeing us triumph.”
Even Kassinger said he didn’t regret buying season tickets.
“I didn’t waste my money because I support CU whether they go undefeated or winless,” Kassinger said.