Utah's marketing team took a huge gamble by deciding to label the Utes' mammoth Thursday-night showdown against TCU a "black-out." Fans were encouraged to wear black, and the Utes unveiled brand-new black alternate uniforms, courtesy of Under Armour, for the occasion.
The gamble paid off.
The vast majority of the 45,666 fans that braved chilly temperatures inside Rice-Eccles Stadium decked themselves out in black, providing an intimidating atmosphere for TCU from start to finish. And more importantly, the Utes took care of business on the field — eventually — in their new duds.
Senior quarterback Brian Johnson found Freddie Brown for a nine-yard TD pass with 48 seconds to go, and the Utes came from behind to post a 13-10 win on Thursday, making sure that Rice-Eccles didn't turn into a funeral home, complete with fans and players dressed in the color of mourning.
Indeed, after safety Robert Johnson intercepted TCU QB Andy Dalton to seal the victory, Rice-Eccles Stadium felt like anything but a funeral home.
"It was huge," sophomore defensive end Paul Kruger said of the support Utah received from its black apparel-wearing fans. "It was so fun to see everybody out there having a good time, supporting the team and supporting Salt Lake.
"We couldn't be happier with everything that's going on, and it's just a special night with a lot of good things happening. Obviously we won, and Salt Lake's having a ball with it."
Going forward, expect the Utes to sport their alternate black uniforms again at some point in the future. If the players get their way, anyway, that will certainly happen.
"It's a lot of fun," Kruger said of the black-out. "It's a change up, and it's just an awesome thing to be able to come out here and find ways to get the crowd into it and get the players into it and just change things up a little bit."