ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- It's not every day that people wearing a different uniform lead the University of Maine football team onto the field on game day. But on Saturday, the Black Bears were okay with that.
Some of the men who lead our country led a different team onto the battlefield, Saturday. Running out to midfield with the UMaine Black Bears in front of their home crowd for the first time this season.
"That's all inspiration right there for us soldiers and first of all us being in the tunnel with them, basically it pumped us up at the same time and I'm sure us being in there pumped them up, too," said U.S. Army soldier Michael Downer.
"It was awesome to be able to just run out on that field, just seeing everyone cheering for that team, cheering for UMaine," said Specialist Tyler Blakney.
It was all part of Head Coach Jack Cosgrove and company's Armed Forces Appreciation Day, a sight seen on the field and all through the crowd as Veterans were given free tickets to watch the match-up against Bryant University.
"Appreciation for everyone, my brothers and sisters who served with me and who passed served, it's amazing to see them," said Specialist Blakney.
"It's good to hear some support for us. We really do support local sports and it's an awesome feeling...it really is," said U.S. Army soldier Clay Landry.
Michael Downer played high school football for Skowhegan, and found himself in a familiar place during the pre-game ritual.
"I don't think there was a huge difference. Just to be honest, bigger players. They're some big boys. Brings back some memories, I was a defensive back myself so a lot of these boys are a lot bigger than I was so it was a good time over there in the tunnel, good times," said Downer.
And those big boys he was talking about came out with a big win over Bryant, 35-22, as the program is off to their best start in over a decade.