Football: Utes hyped for Halloween blackout game, but still focused on OSU

Utah plays Oregon State this Saturday, which also happens to be Halloween.

Each season, the Utes use their closest home game to the holiday to host their annual blackout game. The players will be donning special uniforms, and the crowd will all be wearing black as well. The Utes are eager for things to kick off.

Freshman Britain Covey cannot wait to get out on the field for his first blackout game experience and thinks the fans in Rice-Eccles are going to be more fired up than any time this season, including Michigan and Cal. When he played at Timpview during his prep career, there was an “orange out” every year, but he knows this game will be even better.

“I’m excited — it’s going to be cool,” Covey said. “It’s on Halloween, and it’s going to be crazy.”

Aside from the game itself, Covey is enjoying all the Halloween activities. His family is full of Halloween lovers, and although he has not been able to participate in everything he has wanted to quite yet due to a demanding football schedule, he’ll make sure to get it all done before game time.

“I haven’t even carved pumpkins yet, so I’m sad about that … I’m going to have to invite some people over this week to carve pumpkins,” Covey said.

After the game, Covey hopes Utah will do some fun team activities. If not, he is sure his family will have something planned, which will come in handy, considering he has not decided what he will dress up as this year.

“I’ll probably dress up. My family loves to dress up in funny costumes,” Covey said. “I’ll bet after the game we’ll have some sort of Halloween party or haunted house to go to, dressed up.”

But not all the players on the team are as excited as Covey. Senior Jason Whittingham won’t be spending much time celebrating Halloween because he is completely focused on Oregon State. Last week, Whittingham had to step up for the injured Jared Norris, and he wants to do an even better job this time around.

Whittingham knows he will most likely stick to his usual postgame routine, relaxing in the hot tub since he is usually pretty sore and beat-up after playing. However, because his birthday is on Friday, the team may go out and celebrate on Saturday, but that’s dependent on the outcome of the game.

“If we win we might go have a little fun, which I hope we do,” Whittingham said. “No set plans right now — it would be nice to see some former coaches after the game and talk to them a little, but nothing besides that.”

Whittingham is all business this week, and although he knows he could think of a clever costume, he’s focused on the game before anything else.

“As of right now I don’t have any costume ideas, but I can think of something funny between now and then, if my mind isn’t just concerned with this game,” Whittingham said.

Gionni Paul, however, is more like Covey and is excited for the weekend to unfold. He loves the environment of the blackout game and knows he will give his best shot against Oregon State. But after the game he is going to enjoy spending time with his family and already has a costume ready to go that Ute fans might like.

“I’ll take my daughter trick-or-treating, and [I’ll be dressed up as] a Utah football player that just beat Oregon State,” Paul said.

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@kbrenneisen