Students reinvigorated by Huskies' Energy

A touchdown in their first possession was all the Husky football team needed to get the crowd going for the duration of a battle against LSU Saturday night. But long before the team took the field, Washington students took to the E-1 parking lot to uphold the tailgating tradition, celebrating and anticipating not only the start of a season, but the beginning of the Steve Sarkisian era.

I caught up with recent UW graduates Aaron Bean and Alicia Miller, who noticed big changes in the team and fans' attitudes compared to the last few years, having attended Husky football games since starting out as students four years ago.

"We got to the parking lot to tailgate at 10 a.m.," Miller said. "With LSU in town we knew their fans would be out in full force so we had to show them what it means to be a Husky. We were anxious to see the team in action all day."

"It was awesome," Bean said on the vibe and energy before the game. "People were actually excited about going to the game, talking about the new coaches and the talent we have on the team, unlike last year when most people were more excited just to tailgate and didn't look forward to the actual game."

The intensity of the pregame tradition translated to energy in the stands as well. Both the fans and the players noticed the synergism of excitement and anticipation as the game began and progressed.

"I felt it from the first to the fourth down. I felt it shaking," cornerback Quinton Richardson said. "We were trying to keep them (the fans) in the game the whole time. They're our energy too."

"I thought our fans did a great job," quarterback Jake Locker said. "It was, I can imagine, a difficult place to play (for LSU). When they were making their checks, their quarterback had to tell each guy personally what he needed to do, so they weren't able to hear. I think that's a difficult environment to go in and play in and it was great to have the fans' support."

Whereas last season the stands began to empty as early as the third quarter, most of Saturday night's crowd of 69,161 stayed to cheer the Dawgs on as the game stayed close until just before 11 p.m., when the timer hit zero at the end of the fourth quarter.

"It was definitely electric," Bean said. "You could feel the energy in the crowd and I think that was reflected by the players. I think the players were energized by the fans and in turn, made the fans even more excited.

"There were certain games last year that fans were excited, but it wouldn't last very long into the game because of the energy of the team.

Despite the loss, the fight in the Dawgs encouraged fan support and inspired the team to continue to battle through"out the season.

"Even after the game, when it was over and we had lost, it seemed like the fans were still behind us and very supportive of what we had done Saturday night," Locker said. "It was a great feeling just to know that they were as excited about this season as we are."


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