For BYU, being an independent team has its challenges as well as its advantages and Saturday’s showdown between BYU and Tennessee — the first time these two storied programs have met — was a great example of how the Cougars have been able to play all over the country and in some of the most iconic stadiums in college football.
Last year BYU took down then-No. 6 Wisconsin at Camp Randell Stadium — ending the Badgers’ 41-game home winning streak in the process against non-conference opponents. Since making the jump to independence, the Cougars have faced some of college football’s elite programs such as LSU, Washington, Texas, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Michigan State, Nebraska and Michigan just to name a few.
No matter where the game is being played, the BYU faithful always show up, and that was certainly on display Saturday night in Knoxville, Tennessee with around 15,000 Cougar fans in attendance.
— BYU FOOTBALL (@BYUfootball) September 7, 2019
— BYU FOOTBALL (@BYUfootball) September 7, 2019
In fact, a month before the Tennessee game, BYU had already sold all of its allotted tickets as Cougar fans quickly scooped up tickets to enjoy a game in one of the most iconic stadiums in the country. As you can see in the tweets below, the stadium was well represented with a number of sections decked out in blue.
Vols game attendance is 92,475 for BYU game pic.twitter.com/wdU0nUpipZ
— WJHL Sports (@WJHL_Kenny) September 8, 2019
Not only did BYU fans show up — in what was the fifth largest crowd (92,475) that the football program has ever played in front of — but they left a great impression on Tennessee fans too. One Vols fan even tweeted out that some BYU fans paid for their food with many others complimenting the Cougar faithful as “lovely” and “wonderful” people. Several even tweeted that they’ve never seen a team bring so many fans before.
Some BYU fans went and paid for ours all the Tennessee fans food in Waffle House… why are they so nice?!
— Lacey Stannard (@lace_jay_bee) September 8, 2019
There are ALOT of BYU fans here, wayy more than I was expecting and they are loud. The stadium is pretty empty, but we do have 25 mins left. So ??♀️ #Vols
— Anna Heins ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (@annah038) September 7, 2019
92,000+ in attendance, didnt meet not one mean or disrespectful BYU fan, fans stayed to the end, saw some good effort and lots of bad play calling, but that GD QB…. gots ta go
— stillAVol (@clg419) September 8, 2019
Last thing: BYU fans are wonderful. Lovely people. Every single one of them was kind. Thank you for coming.
— Patrick (@Patricccolt) September 8, 2019
— Justin Christensen (@gr8justinc) September 7, 2019
comments from Vol fans today:
"I've never seen a team bring so many fans to Knoxville"
"plz don't beat us by too much today"
"count me in as a cougar fan if you win today"
"y'all really should've beaten Utah. those guys suck"
"who knew we had this many mormons in Tennessee?"
— ???? (@kylecoug) September 7, 2019
@BYUfootball @BYU @BYUSportsNation @BYUCheer @BYUalumni Some positive comments about fans going to UT game. The first post is from a 28 year veteran of the Knoxville PD. Even the cheerleaders were nice (see second post ?) pic.twitter.com/1XKc521q26
— Reed Beatse (@ReedBeatse) September 9, 2019
— Lisa Wilson (@lisadancefit) September 8, 2019
Wow….. the BYU Faithful came through today!!! Can’t wait to play in front of you all! Let’s go! #GoCougs??
— Fesi Sitake (@fsitake) September 7, 2019
Thank you Cougar Nation – Southern Fam! Y’all know that is how we make memories. Hope to have ANOTHER family reunion soon. Go Cougs! pic.twitter.com/HaU98p8AkX
— Tom Holmoe (@TomHolmoe) September 8, 2019
BYU Coaches React In Win Over Tennessee
Since taking over the program in 2016, BYU head coach Kalani Sitake has suffered a number of close losses over the past four years, including several to arch-rival Utah which as now won nine consecutive games in the series.
Considering all those close calls, on top of this year’s front-loaded schedule with USC and Washington still left to playover the next two weeks, Saturday’s win was a special moment for the coaching staff as well as a sigh of relief.
They also made sure to give a shoutout to all the fans that made it out to the game with Tight Ends Coach Steve Clark saying: “The best part of winning the game tonight was being able to share it with so many cougar fans dressed in royal blue at Neyland Stadium.”
In his postgame interview Kalani Sitake made sure to mention the Cougar faithful saying, “I was talking with Coach Pruitt before the game and he was impressed with the amount of fans that we had show up. They were loud and I’m glad we got the win for them. We even sang the fight song twice to reach fans on both sides of the stadium. There were so many fans. I’m so thankful for the support and the love that they give us.”
— Fan Insider (@FanInsider_) September 8, 2019
Sitake has moves. pic.twitter.com/krU8Gi28vO
— Jarom Jordan (@jaromjordan) September 8, 2019
The best part of winning the game tonight was being able to share it with so many cougar fans dressed in royal blue at Neyland Stadium. #gocougs
— Steve Clark (@coachsteveclark) September 8, 2019
Our Guys Earned The Right To Win By The Way They Practiced This Week. Grateful For Guys Who Bind Together When The Going Gets Tough! Great Team Win! Cougar Nation Was INCREDIBLE Tonight In Knoxville….WOW! #BuiltNotBorn ????
— AJ Steward (@Coach_Steward) September 8, 2019
— Fesi Sitake (@fsitake) September 8, 2019
Never a doubt
— Aaron Roderick (@CoachRoderick) September 8, 2019