Hundreds of BYU football fans crowded outside the entrance to the Provo Airport on Sept. 15, eagerly waiting to welcome back the football players after their win.
The Cougars defied the odds by defeating No. 6 Wisconsin 24-21.
BYU freshman Tyler Sanders referred to the victory as “a sight to behold.”
Brooke Curry, a freshman studying psychology, said, “The players worked really hard. It was cool to see them win.”
The football triumph ignited a spark of Cougar pride in BYU fans of all ages. The contagious energy was apparent as supporters cheered, danced and waved blue and white “Y” flags in anticipation of the football team’s arrival.
Even the Cosmobile showed up to enliven the party, blasting music as the crowd broke out into dancing.
The football team’s flight arrival time was set back by an hour, only adding to the anxious anticipation of the awaiting crowd.
But the delay didn’t stop the loyal fans from staying put, despite the lateness of the hour.
Nate Keddington commuted from his home in Layton with his 8-year-old son — whose middle name is LaVell — 8-year-old nephew and 4-year-old son to participate in this welcoming home event.
As devoted BYU football fans, Keddington and the young boys were enthusiastic about the Cougars’ win.
“If they play like they did today, they’ll have a good rest of the year,” Keddington said regarding the team’s performance.
Cheers of excitement rippled through the crowd as it neared 10:40 p.m., the expected arrival time of the team.
Finally, the moment came. As the coaches and players began exiting the building, the crowd roared and burst into loud cheers and chants.
The crowd cheered in excitement as Tanner Mangum, Squally Canada and other members of the team walked through the doors.
Cougar fans then went wild as head coach Kalani Sitake walked through the crowd, giving high-fives to the ecstatic group of supporters.
After all the players had left the building, the roaring crowd did indeed “rise and shout” by simultaneously singing the BYU fight song, cheering and waving flags, and praising the Cougars’ victory.
BYU accounting senior Joe Wheat described his experience participating in the event and welcoming home the team following their win.
“It was awesome. It was something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid. I’ve grown up watching these guys since I was two,” he said. “I would want students to do that for me if I was on the team. It was the least I could do.”
The energy from the win early that day was tangible among the hundreds of fans as they waited for and cheered on the Cougars upon arriving at the airport. Wheat said this win means good things for BYU’s season.
“This changes everything,” Wheat said. “If we can compete with Wisconsin, we can compete with any team in the country.”