BYU's Terenn Houk: Ref hug gone viral was out-of-body experience

ESPN logo
Tuesday, September 8, 2015

SALT LAKE CITY -- Terenn Houk couldn't stop laughing Monday as he reminisced about the "craziest, happiest experience" of his life.

BYU shockingly beat Nebraska 33-28 with a long pass as time expired Saturday that handed the Cornhuskers their first loss in a season opener since 1985.

As BYU turned Memorial Stadium into their own personal mosh pit, including coach Bronco Mendenhall running in circles and getting emotional afterward, cameras caught Houk in a moment of elation.

It's been dubbed the "Houk Hug."

The BYU receiver was in the end zone when Mitch Mathews caught the ball and immediately turned to the ref standing on the goal line. As soon as he signaled touchdown, Houk sprinted to the man in stripes and gave him a hug.

"He catches it and I freak out. I can't believe he came down with it," Houk said. "So I'm in shock. I look at the ref thinking he's going to go, no, incomplete or something. Because there's no way that happened.

"Then he raises his hand and it was literally the happiest moment in my life. So I run over, I'm like, 'Thank you!' I was outside myself. I don't even remember. In the moment it was probably the dumbest thing to ever do. But I run over and I hug him. Then I realize it's the ref and I'm like, 'Oh my gosh, I'm going to get flagged.' So I let go and run over and just jump on the pile. It probably was the most surreal, amazing moment ever. ... Yeah, it was pretty stupid."

Houk said he could see fear in the referee's eyes, not knowing what he was going to do. Since then, the moment has been repeatedly shown across sports platforms.

"I felt so dumb, to be honest," Houk said. "I can't believe that happened.

"You just have to own it because it got blasted all over social media. I had people from third grade telling me, 'Did you know?' Yeah I know. I was there. It was me. You just have to own it and laugh at it."

Related Video