A generously announced crowd of 53,420 left plenty of room for creativity at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday.
By halftime, South Carolina was leading Akron 28-3, a score that eventually became final, and rain was pounding off empty sections of bleachers. Rather than use these things as excuses to head back to the dorm, Aidan Smith saw opportunity. The freshman spent parts of the first and second quarters tying together white really towels with his friends. As more space cleared around him in the north end zone, he began to swing.
“I almost hit my friend,” Smith said. “In the up-close video we have – it’s pretty funny – he’s like backing up.”
But The State is happy to report no one was was injured in the making – or swinging — of what became a viral moment at an otherwise non-eventful Carolina football game.
Smith is a visual communications major from outside Atlanta. Naturally, he debated showing up Saturday. The matchup, created in November because of a September cancellation, was never going to be a crowd-pleaser — and that was before the forecast called for rain.
“It was the last game of the season and I had a ticket,” Smith said. “A lot of my friends weren’t going, but I had a couple that were. So it was just like, ‘You know what, I got nothing else to do, might as well go.’
“I went to the Missouri game, too, and it was raining then. Rain games are actually pretty fun to do some stuff. If you just stand there and you’re like, ‘This sucks,’ it’s going to suck. But if you go out and do some stuff, it’s going to be pretty fun. So we did just that.”
Smith was determined to fight boredom, and he had company. At one point, towels were strung across the entire student section.
“There was probably like seven to 10 of us doing it,” Smith said. “And half of them I didn’t even know. We just found each other. We’re like, ‘Yo, we all have towels, let’s just tie them together.’
“So I met a couple people through it.”
The State’s photo of a student waving the extended towel isn’t of Smith. It’s confirmed, though, he’s the one swinging in a video that’s generated over 190,000 Twitter impressions as of Sunday morning.
A week after the birth of Third Down Guy, South Carolina adds another legend in Towel Guy?
“I like to have fun,” Smith said.