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BYU/Houston Matchup Gives Blue Cougars First Opportunity To Play In Front Of Fans

PROVO, UT - SEPTEMBER 11: Fans in the student section of the BYU Cougars during a game against the Houston Cougars on September 11, 2014 at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah. (Photo by Jay Drowns/Getty Images)

HOUSTON, TexasΒ – The matchup between BYU and Houston is a highlight game on the week seven slate of this crazy college football season. A year that has been anything but normal during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lack of normalcy is evident by the 4-0 BYU Cougars’ environments they’ve played to this point in their schedule.

All four of BYU’s games this season have been played in front of no fans, making them one of only six FBS teams that have yet to play for a paying customer in attendance.

BYU/Houston will have fans in attendance

Friday night at Houston’s TDECU Stadium will change that for BYU as fans will be allowed in attendance to watch the All-Cougar showdown.

“I don’t think you could tell the difference between home and away games from the first four because there were no fans at all four of them … But [having fans in attendance] will be a different thing we haven’t seen all season long. So I think the guys are excited,” said BYU coach Kalani Sitake.

25-percent of TDECU Stadium’s capacity is permitted to attend Friday night’s game. For a total of capacity of around 8,500 people. A big difference from playing in front of a hundred cardboard cutouts.

“I believe [our players will] have an opportunity for family members to be at the game and help support them. We’ll have some representation there too. That’s way better than we had the first four games. So that’s different, and I think it’s unique, and it’s something to look forward to for our players. It will only add to the excitement,” Sitake said.

Dana Holgorsen knows BYU fans travel

It will be interesting to see how much of the representation on Friday night ends up being in favor of BYU.

Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen knows that BYU fans will show up on Friday. During his weekly radio interview with ESPN Houston’s “The Bench,” Holgorsen acknowledged how well BYU fans travel to road games.

“I know BYU bought a bunch of tickets when they heard that (fans would be allowed). Their stadium in Utah has been closed. BYU is used to traveling; they go everywhere. They usually have four or five trips that are all over the country. So that’s nothing new to them. They get kids from all over the country with the Mormon community; they get guys from everywhere. We played them in D.C. in 2016, and it was split 50/50. So they travel really well. Hopefully, they didn’t gobble up too many of these tickets and we can get a bunch of Coog fans in there.”

Holgorsen’s previous matchup against BYU was when he was the head coach at West Virginia. The game was played at FedEx Field in Washington, D.C., 2,100 miles away from Provo. So if they’re willing to travel to D.C., they’ll probably go to Texas. If they don’t travel due to the pandemic, there will likely be a strong showing from Cougar fans in blue as BYU has a strong following of alumni and fans in the Lone Star State. You can even buy a BYU vanity plate if you’re a Texas resident.

Regardless of which fan base produces more fans, it’s another sign of normalcy during these crazy times. That’s something we can all root for.

No. 14 BYU vs. Houston

Date: Friday, October 16th

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. (MT)

TV: ESPN

Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM, KSL Newsradio app)

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter:Β @Mitch_Harper.

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