‘Go for that 22%’: Why special helmets Utes will wear vs. USC will provide extra motivation
Utah’s players will wear hand-painted helmets featuring the faces of Ty Jordan and Aaron Lowe
Utah’s football program has gone to great lengths to honor the lives of two of its fallen players — running back Ty Jordan and cornerback Aaron Lowe.
And when the No. 20 Utes host No. 7 USC Saturday, they’ll honor the pair again on a very big stage.
Utah’s players will wear hand-painted helmets featuring the faces of Jordan and Lowe, who both wore No. 22 during their brief college careers.
How will wearing these special helmets impact the Utes’ performance a week after falling 42-32 at UCLA?
“Hopefully, it makes us all dig deeper and look to go for that 22% and play like they played — hard and physical and just attack everything,” said quarterback Cam Rising. “Hopefully, we get that type of atmosphere from it and feel from the team.”
Coach Kyle Whittingham is also hoping for an inspired effort from his players.
“It could have an effect in that regard. We’ll see,” he said. “But certainly we try to remember those guys every day. It’s not just the game where we wear the helmet. But it could give a spark.”
Wide receiver Devaughn Vele said the opportunity to honor Jordan and Lowe has deep meaning.
“With having them on our helmets, it’s a good reminder to us of why we’re playing. There’s things bigger than football. Those guys are the reason why our culture has changed and why we practice and work so hard,” he said.
“We understand that this is a brotherhood. When you lose one of your brothers, it’s something that’s very hard to overcome. But we overcame that last year. I feel like this game will be a good reminder to us of the bigger picture and I feel like it will rally us to be closer as a brotherhood. … Having Ty and Aaron as a memorial for this game coming up will be a big impact for us.”
Safety Cole Bishop didn’t know Jordan because he arrived on campus after his death. But he knew Lowe. He appreciates being able to don these special helmets.
“It means a lot,” Bishop said. “It’s an honor. It’s a chance to play for something greater than football.”
Utes on the air
No. 7 USC (6-0, 4-0)
at No. 20 Utah (4-2, 2-1)
Saturday, 6 p.m. MDT
Radio: ESPN 700