BYU held on to beat in Houston 33-25 on Thursday, Sept. 11 on a night that will be remembered for being more than just a football game.
A patriotic theme was prevalent throughout the event as fans and players joined together to honor the memory of those slain during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Players from both teams wore special red, white and blue helmets and helped unveil a 100-yard American flag during the national anthem.
“Everyone was just so pumped,” linebacker Zac Stout said. “It almost felt like an honor to be out there.”
Armed service men and women overseas voiced their support of BYU football through pre-recorded video messages while veterans present at the stadium were honored. Fans in the east stands were able to join in on the commemoration following the end of the second quarter by hoisting up individual signs found on their seats. Collectively, the thousands of red, white and blue sheets spelled out the message, “we will never forget,” and when flipped over read, “rise and roar.”
“It was a tremendous opportunity to play on 9/11 on ESPN,” running back Jamaal Williams said. “Just to have the American flag and American symbol on your helmet and on the field is a great honor. To go out there and play football for the soldiers and see on the video screen (them) saying ‘go Cougars’…(it’s) a great thing to know that they’re watching us from over there.”
The patriotic decals were the first of four alternate jersey combinations BYU will wear at home this year. The Cougars will feature an all-white uniform look as they take on Virginia on Sept. 20, they’ll sport their throwback royal blue jerseys when they take on Utah State on Oct. 3 and they’ll square off against UNLV wearing special all-black jerseys Nov. 15.