Utah Football Retires Number 22 in Honor of Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe


Jonathan Wang

(Photo by Jonathan Wang | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Chase Mullin, Assistant Sports Editor


Saturday night’s University of Utah football game will be remembered for years, and not just because the Utes drubbed UCLA 44-24 to clearly put themselves in the driver’s seat in the Pac-12 South. Instead, Saturday’s contest will be remembered as a memorial, the game where Utah football officially retired the number 22 in honor of fallen teammates and best friends Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe.

As any Ute fan knows, the Utes lost their star running back in Jordan a little less than a year ago, and the impact of his death was still prominent throughout the entire university coming into the season, with the Utes paying tribute to Jordan on several occasions during the first few games of the 2021-2022 campaign.

Lowe, Jordan’s teammate and fellow native of Mesquite, Texas, switched his number from 2 to 22 at the beginning of the year to honor his best friend. Little did anyone know at the time that those two would be the last Utah football players to ever wear the number, as Lowe would tragically pass away a couple weeks later.

After the first quarter, Jordan and Lowe’s families gathered on the south-end 22-yard line, as everyone in attendance, players and fans included, turned their attention to the jumbotron, where a tribute to the players displayed. The crowd erupted in claps and cheers as the Utes officially retired the number 22. The Utes would respond by putting up 21 points in the second quarter.

Between the third and fourth quarter, with the Utes up 28-17, another tribute to Jordan and Lowe played on the jumbotron, and perhaps one of the most chilling and memorable moments in Rice-Eccles Stadium’s history ensued. The boisterous Rice-Eccles Stadium crowd, which was the largest ever recorded in the stadium’s history, grew quiet. Completely unplanned, nearly every fan in attendance took out their phone and started waving around their flashlights in a modern-day, smartphone-driven candlelight vigil.

The Utes had held several brief tributes and moments of silence for Jordan and Lowe prior to Saturday, but nothing quite compared to the moments that took place after the first and third quarters, and it was only fitting that their families were there to witness these events.

Saturday’s game was devoted entirely to Jordan and Lowe. The stadium was covered with emblems honoring the two fallen Utes, and every Pac-12 team who played on Saturday painted the 22-yard lines on the field crimson red in honor of Jordan, Lowe and the University of Utah.

Utah finished the game with 44 points — 22 for Jordan, and 22 for Lowe.

It is perhaps only fitting that Saturday’s game was Utah football’s annual blackout game, as the game felt like a memorial. Jordan and Lowe’s teammates were in attendance for both of their funerals, but Saturday felt like the celebration of life the notoriously passionate Utah fanbase naturally didn’t get to be a part of.

It is difficult enough for a team and its fans to lose not just one teammate, but two within a year, and Saturday’s game let the Utah football community, fans and players alike, pay their respects to Jordan and Lowe and take their mind off their sorrows by watching the Utes dominate the Bruins, 44-24. 


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