Houston (CBS Houston) – It seemed like it would never get here, but this Friday the University of Houston will open their new football home with a game against in-state foe The University of Texas at San Antonio.
John O’Quinn field at TDECU stadium is a 40 thousand seat stadium and is the new, permanent home for Cougar football.
Andre Ware is one of the most recognizable players to ever roam the field in a Houston uniform. The Heisman Trophy winner says the Cougars have a home they can be proud to display.
“You’re in awe,” Ware said. “It’s right here on campus. It’s there for you to see. The program’s gonna build from this day forward.”
Ware’s iconic number from his time on the team is marked on the field. Fans will notice an 11 at the 11-yard line in remembrance of Ware’s great achievements.
Fans will also notice the synthetic turf with differing shades of green to give off the appearance of mowing patters. The end zones are Houston’s scarlet red with white letters. A cougar silhouette in one end zone opposes a silhouette in the other end zone mimicking the Houston skyline.
Ware isn’t the only record-shattering quarterback who loves TDECU Stadium.
David Klingler broke many of Ware’s records and still holds a few of his own from his time at Houston. He says for the first time the football team has a place of their own.
“It feels like the football team has a home now,” Klingler said. “Back in the day we played in the [Astrodome] and then Robertson kind of felt like a makeshift, temporary thing, but now it feels like the University of Houston football team has a home.”
The skyline of the city is clearly visible from the west end of the field. The sidelines feature the team’s website along with the hashtag “#GoCoogs.” The university’s logo adorns the middle of the field with the American Athletic Conference at the 25 yard-line.
Kevin Kolb spent his time playing in the former home for Cougar football, and he’s happy to see the new future for the program.
“Surreal to have a place like this,” Kolb said. “So well put together. Everything looks great. Right here on campus. Downtown’s right there. Everything just, it came together really well.”
He thinks there is a huge opportunity for the program to capitalize on the momentum of a new stadium.
“Jump-starts it, no question,” he said. “Kid’s wanna be here anyways. If the facilities can be put in place, we’ve obviously got the talent and if we can just get the resources there, I think it’s a hidden gem.”
The Cougars will play seven game at their new home this season including four of their first five games. Kick-off for Friday’s season opener against the UTSA Roadrunners is 8 p.m.
Get in touch with Cody Stoots on Twitter – @Cody_Stoots
[display-posts category=”sports” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=”5″]