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Saturday, December 9, 2023


UH home-opener not just about the football


The hype of the TDECU Stadium opener was felt around campus for days leading up to the event. Despite the 27-7 loss, UH students are still anticipating great things both team and stadium. | Caitlin Hilton/The Cougar

Energy was kicked into high-gear on the UH campus this past Friday in light of the season-opening football game as well as the newly-built TDECU Stadium.

Cougar fans stocked up on gear and accessories, coating the stadium in red with every kind of Cougar clothing in support of the home team. As they poured into the stadium, some students could hardly contain their excitement as they rushed to their seats, opting to stand instead of sit, pointing appreciatively at the sketch of the Houston skyline, which is now drawn into the end zone turf.

“The student section felt electric from the opening kickoff, with every student shouting at the top of their lungs for the team,” said electrical engineering senior Erik Van Aller. “I took a second and stood back; I wanted to soak it all in: the stadium, the crowd and the Cougars.”

Finance senior Niccolo Buchelli, a transfer from San Jacinto College, didn’t get to see legendary former quarterback Case Keenum play at Robertson Stadium, so being there for the opening of the new stadium was a special moment.

“It feels like we’ve got a Tier One stadium in conjunction with our Tier One university,” Buchelli said. “I’ve never seen so much school spirit on campus.”

Not only are students spirited about the stadium, they’re also excited to see how the UH football team will perform on their new playing field following the 27-7 loss.

“It was great to see everyone get so excited before the game after two years of anticipation for this first home game in our new stadium,” said electrical engineering junior Dominic Mak. “The only thing more disappointing than our loss was watching our fans across the stadium leave throughout the second half.”

This sentiment was shared by many who stayed for the entirety of the game.

It was inspiring to be a part of that crowd. There was a feeling of cohesiveness that I dreamed of when coming to college,” said marketing and management junior John Hounihan. “What was disappointing, however, was how quick many students were to leave when the team was down. The energy and spirit didn’t translate to much loyalty, and I hope that this community can bounce back and fill the stands of TDECU once more.”

From the looks of things, the Cougar pride is still alive. Throughout coaching changes, the moving on of a star quarterback and numerous other players, the fan base is passionate and they still have their team’s back, hoping that one day the loyalty will pay off.

“While our Cougars hit the practice field before next game,” Mak said, “we should all think about keeping up our school spirit no matter the score.”

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