PROVO — BYU was all set to honor Jamaal Williams when he broke the school’s all-time rushing record Friday night against Mississippi State.
Williams passed former Cougar Harvey Unga in the first overtime of BYU’s 28-21 double-OT win to become the school’s leading rusher with 3,467 yards. He set the new standard on a 9-yard run, the first play on an eventual BYU touchdown drive.
Fans in the southeast corner of the stadium then unveiled a giant banner created by Sril Art that said, “Williams 21 BYU all-time leading rusher,” with a black-and-white rendering of Williams adorning the bottom half of the banner. Thousands more fans held up signs with Williams’ No. 21 jersey number.
Williams deflected the praise after the victory.
“I have to give credit to all my linemen, tight ends, everyone who blocked for me in my career of rushing. Kudos to almost everyone out there — former linemen, linemen now," Williams said. "I’m grateful to get it. Honestly, I wish I could put them before my name because you can’t do it without the line; you can’t do it without everybody and their effort. I just wanted to say thank you and I appreciate it.”
Kalani’s father throws the double shaka
BYU fans are well aware of first-year head coach Kalani Sitake’s passion for the game, and his use of the shaka.
Sitake’s father, Tomasi, couldn’t help but use the Hawaiian hand signal to celebrate the Cougar victory Friday. The elder Sitake flashed a double shaka as he walked onto the field following the win.
Rushing the field
Cougar fans stormed the field following the first victory by BYU over an SEC opponent in Provo. From fans taking selfies to others chanting B-Y-U near midfield, it was a chaotic scene of euphoria on the LaVell Edwards Stadium field.
Here’s a look at the madness.
Former backs in attendance
Unga, now a graduate assistant coach at BYU, was on hand to witness Williams passing him, as were several other former Cougar running backs. Unga, along with Lakei Heimuli and Manase Tonga, ran out the alumni flags before the game, and they were joined by Vai Sikahema and Fui Vakapuna.
It allowed the chance for several generations of runners to come together and celebrate on a special night for Cougar running backs.
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