Against a backdrop of pink-tinged clouds Thursday, the UConn Huskies faced off against the Villanova Wildcats in their season opener at the newly named Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field.
But the only color that mattered after sunset was blue.
The UConn Huskies trumped the Villanova Wildcats 20-15 at the game, which was also a celebration of the stadium’s new name.
Throughout the evening, there were special tributes to the company that more than a decade ago provided the state with the land to build the sports facility.
Before kickoff, the UConn band formed P & W on the field as they played the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” As the song ended, two F-15 fighter planes flew over the stadium, which is located on land that until 1999 had been part of the former Rentschler Field airport. Moments later, trainers released a bald eagle that circled the field during the national anthem.
Thousands of Pratt & Whitney employees and their families joined other UConn fans at the game, donning special blue jerseys with the company name. And, during a time-out in the first quarter, President Susan Herbst, Provost Mun Choi, and Larry McHugh presented Pratt & Whitney Vice President Tom Prete with a UConn football jersey.
“Watching our Huskies win the first game of the football season last night was a thrill – and the energy of our fans at the game was amazing,” Herbst wrote to the University community afterward.