What was supposed to be a light-hearted and spirited pep rally for BYU and Oregon and their fans came within a whisker of turning ugly Tuesday night at the Fremont Street Experience in downtown Las Vegas.
While a BYU captain was giving a short speech on a stage above both teams, which were facing each other, several BYU players started doing the Haka, a traditional Maori war dance. The Cougars do the Haka as a team on the field before every game.
An Oregon player of Polynesian descent apparently took exception to the dance. He jumped over a metal barrier separating the teams and shoved a BYU player. A minor fracas ensued, although no punches were thrown.
Security personnel and BYU team officials were able to separate the players, and nobody was injured or detained for questioning.
"One of their guys jumped onto our side, but nothing really happened," said BYU lineman Jake Kuresa. "Just a lot of shoving and mouthing off. Luckily, guys kept their cool."
- Jay Drew