Blackout, Halloween add excitement to matchup

By By Bubba Brown, Staff Writer

By Bubba Brown, Staff Writer

Trick-or-treaters won’t be the only costumed ones this Halloween. Utah football players and fans will also be getting in on the fun.

For the second straight season, the Utes are hosting a Blackout game. The team will take the field in special black jerseys Saturday, and fans are encouraged to also wear black.

Linebacker Stevenson Sylvester says the team can’t wait for the Blackout.

“There’s a lot of excitement,” he said. “It looks really nice and the crowd will be into it.”

Since the game is on Halloween, the MUSS is encouraging students to dress up in elaborate costumes similar to the “black hole” fan section of the Oakland Raiders.

“We knew people would be coming in costume anyways because of Halloween,” said MUSS coordinator Brynn Whitchurch. “We wanted to give people a push in the right direction as far as what kind of costume to wear. I think it will create a more intimidating and unified group.”

Last season, the first Utah Blackout game was one of the most hyped games in Ute football history when then-No. 8 Utah and No. 12 TCU squared off, with the Utes edging the Horned Frogs in the final minutes. A sea of black-clad fans rushed the field afterward.

The game was a success by all accounts. On the football side, the team collected a win, and from a fan standpoint, the majority of the sellout crowd embraced the concept of wearing all black.

Last year, students could buy Blackout sweatshirts from the MUSS. Because of the success of that game, the MUSS held a contest this year for the design of two new Blackout sweatshirts, which can be purchased at the University Campus Store.

This year, the game is against Wyoming, which comes in with a 4-3 overall record (2-1 MWC). Even though the concept is no longer new and Utah fans won’t be treated to a matchup of two top-ranked teams, Whitchurch said fans are still looking forward to the Blackout.

“Last year, I think people were a little bit more excited for the actual game,” she said. “This year, people are most looking forward to dressing up for Halloween and going crazy. That’s what’s going to make it a great atmosphere.”

Sylvester agreed that the Blackout has not lost its luster, despite the perceived lesser matchup.

“I expect the atmosphere to be the same as last year,” he said. “I’ve talked to a lot of people on campus who are excited for it. I’ve had a lot of people asking me all year when the Blackout was going to be.”

In fact, Sylvester said he wished the team could wear black jerseys more often.

“We’d like to do it more than once a year,” he said. “Maybe mix some black with the red or something like that. But I’m not in charge of that.”

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Lennie Mahler

The field at Rice-Eccles Stadium became a sea of black last season after the Utes defeated the Horned Frogs in the first Blackout game. The stadium will be black again this week as the Utes take on Wyoming.