HOUSTON - Roughly 71,000 football fans packed NRG Park on Saturday for the Advocare Texas kickoff. Most of them wore the purple and gold colors of LSU, but several Wisconsin fans made the trip south to support the Badgers.
Texans star and Wisconsin product J.J. Watt took advantage of having the Badgers in town and hosted thousands in a tailgate at the Texans' practice bubble.
"To get this many Badger fans out here and to get this many people at a tailgate is really something special," Watt said.
Watt was a fan favorite in Wisconsin, just like he is in Houston.
"It's so cool to see that it's lasted for so long," he said. "That the love is there between Badger fans and myself. That's what you try to create, you try to create memories. You try to create bonds like that and that's what makes this game so special."
All of the proceeds from the tailgate benefited the JJWatt Foundation. When the party ended and Badgers fans left the bubble for the stadium, their smiles turned into screams as Wisconsin took the field against LSU.
Watt was an honorary captain and watched the Badgers take a lead into the fourth quarter, until giving up 15 unanswered points to LSU and losing the game.
Now the focus shifts from the Badgers back to the Texans as Watt and his teammates prepare for their Sept. 7 opener at home against Washington.
"I'm excited about the week of work ahead," Watt said. "One of the best parts as a player is you have to enjoy the process. You have to enjoy going into work, watching film, watching tape, getting in the weight room, getting on the field and practicing for the game. I love it's finally go time."
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