There they were dressed in white shirts, turning up in the Eastern time zone, appearing on national TV, winning a tough one on grit and determination alone.
If only those one-time University of Washington players now employed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers could pass along their motivation and outcome to their Husky successors, who are 1,100 miles due north, waiting to play Michigan in a similar setting.
In the Bucs' thrilling, NFL-opening 31-29 victory over Dallas on Thursday night, Vita Vea wowed America with his man-eating bull rushes coming up the middle, Joe Tryon was flying around on the outside on from Tampa's very first scrimmage play and Jaydon Mickens proved scintillatingly close to breaking one of his kick returns.
The 6-foot-4, 346-pound Vea was such a bruising presence against the Cowboys, he completely destroyed Dallas center Tyler Biadasz on one play that went viral, driving the 6-foot-3, 316-pound snapper 10 yards up the field and into opposing quarterback Dak Prescott, and then Vita blocked for the Bucs on a big third-down play.
The funny thing about Vea is he didn't even show up on the Bucs' defensive stat sheet. No tackles. Sacks. Nothing tangible.
Yet he was so good against Dallas, the experts were christening him as the NFL's best pure defensive tackle once his display of dominant football was over.
Meanwhile, Tryon got baptized as an NFL player, rewarded with a start for the defending Super Bowl champs whom he just joined, and the rookie came up with a pair of tackles in his first game since the 2019 Las Vegas Bowl.
If anything, the first-round draft pick cut a dashing figure simply walking to his first pro gladiator battle, as this Tweet captured.
Mickens, who got released by Tampa Bay a week ago and re-signed, gathered in 5 kickoffs and punts and returned them 113 yards, averaging 22.6 yards per kick, with a long of 41.
So much for his temporary roster purgatory. He's still working. Still on the verge of going the distance.
These Husky Bucs showed plenty of swag in front of the entire country, even in introductions.
There was no fun-loving University of Mars creation, no silly high school substitution. For Vea, he preferred a simple and straightforward, "Vita Vea, U-Dub."
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