Devin Kaufusi: This Past Week Was More Than Football

Oct 14, 2021, 9:15 PM
Devin Kaufusi - Utah Utes vs. SDSU...
Utah Utes defensive tackle Devin Kaufusi (90) lined up during a game between the Utah Utes and the San Diego State Aztecs on September 18, 2021, at Dignity Health Sports Park in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Justin Fine/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Fine/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Utah football has gone through so much over the past year with teammate Ty Jordan passing away last Christmas and more recently Aaron Lowe just a few weeks ago at a party in Salt Lake City. The Utes football team had a bye week after Lowe’s passing to cope with their feelings and then went on to beat USC on the road for the first time ever.

A few days after that historic USC win, the team went down to Texas to attend Lowe’s funeral proceedings to pay their final respects to their teammates. Emotions had to have been all over the place over the past week with all that happened and during a season where there was still focus needed to play a football game.

Utah defensive lineman Devin Kaufusi joins KSL’s UnRivaled each week and he went into detail on how the team handled the passing of Lowe through the bye week and then heading into the big road game at USC.

“We had the bye week and that was a really heavy week and going in slow motion with everything,” Kaufusi said. “[The bye week] was very helpful and it was just a cloud over us all week with the loss of Aaron. Then we get into game week and prep.

“I think we knew this was bigger than football and what we have here is a real brotherhood, so let’s go out and practice hard and play hard to get a real solid win. It is always good to win but this was a really feel-good win with the team coming together and battling through.”

The Utes go out and prepare in a very unique and somber way and used motivation to get the win over USC which included a nice gesture to Lowe and Jordan with the “22% Better Every Day.” Getting that win down in Los Angeles had to have felt great not just for the win but getting it done after the tragedy.

Heading To Texas

Utah had to adjust its practice schedule this week to be able to go to Dallas for the services for Lowe and everyone went down there to support their teammate. The proceedings was a great chance for all of the Utes players, staff, friends, and family for one final goodbye to Lowe.

Kaufusi gave his personal thoughts on what going to the services meant to him.

“We had a game with practices in between but once we get to the memorial and we have those emotions again,” Kaufusi. “What was really special was that it was all Utah. All the flower arrangements were red, the “U” was everywhere, the family wore Utah stuff, and Aaron was buried in his uniform. When I saw that it was really special.

“This was my teammate, a son, a brother, and a player to his coaches. The highlight for them was that they had a boy who was a Utah football player. That was really special for me to understand that and know the position I am in and not take it for granted.”

The team rallied behind Lowe this week for a big program win but there is still half a season left for this team, so what comes next for this program? Can Utah keep it going the rest of the way to honor their fallen teammates?

“Coach Whitt mentioned it can break one of two ways,” Kaufusi said. “It can divide a lot of people and it can get heavy — which no one can blame us if we are feeling that — or we can come stronger together more than before and we still make things happen. No one is going to get on us if we lose… as a team we still want to do what we want to accomplish which is to win games.”

This Utah team will not get over the passing of their teammates but they will need to find a way to get through this together as a team. What they can do is go forward to finish the season and use what happened to be closer as a team and remember their teammates.

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