BYU senior wide receiver said Monday that he's OK with his now-famous euphoric reaction to the final play in Saturday's thrilling 33-28 Cougar win at Nebraska being called the "Houk Hug."
For the first time, Houk described to reporters how he got so caught up in the moment that when the official signaled the touchdown, he ran over and gave him the quick hug that was captured on national television.
"The last play was probably one of the craziest, happiest experiences of my life," Houk said.
Houk explained that the build up for him actually began when the team ran the play the only time in practice.
"It was the first time we'd ever run that play and it was me, Nick (Kurtz) and Mitch (Mathews)," Houk said. "We ran it in the IPF (Indoor Practice Facility) and Taysom (Hill) bombs it. He almost throws it out of the end zone."
That was going through Houk's mind as he lined up for the final play at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln.
"It's 28-27 with one second left on the clock and it was like, how are we going to do this?" Houk said. "We have to win this game. Someone has to come down with it."
At the snap, the receivers raced to the end zone and Houk tried to put himself in position.
"I set up where I'm supposed to be in the middle of the end zone," he explained. "I see the ball come and I am like, OK I have to come back and get it -- but the defender is walling me. I'm thinking I have to somehow get this and I'm not getting there. It's starting to really get to me."
That desperation changed in an instant as Mathews slid in front and hauled in the reception.
"He came out of nowhere and catches it -- and I freak out," Houk said. "I couldn't believe he came down with it. Then all of a sudden he rolls in and I'm thinking, did that just happen? That never happens in real life. That's what you see on ESPN Classic."
In that frozen moment, Houk said he was just in shock.
"I looked at the ref, thinking he's just going to go, 'no, incomplete,' or something because there is no way that happened," the senior said. "And then he raises his hands. It was literally the happiest moment of my life."
That incredible combination of relief, elation, disbelief and excitement bubbled over into Houk's famous spontaneous reaction.
"I just ran over and was like, THANK YOU!" Houk said. "I was outside myself. In the moment, it was probably the dumbest thing to ever do, but I ran over and hugged him."
That was when reality set in.
"I realized it was a ref and I was like, oh my gosh, I'm going to get a flag," Houk said. "So I run over and jump on the pile. It was probably the most surreal, amazing moment ever. Everyone is dogpiled on us. Cosmo is there out of nowhere. It was crazy."
It was shortly after that when Houk started hearing about his moment of exuberance.
"People were like, 'did you know you hugged the ref?'" Houk said. "I was like yeah, it was stupid, I know. But it was the greatest moment ever."
Houk explained that it seemed like referee was a little confused but eventually understood.
"When I ran over to him, he looked at me like, 'what the heck is he doing?,'" Houk said. "Then you could totally tell he was a little scared, but then he kind of laughed a little bit so I figured I was OK. But I felt so dumb."
Houk added that he wasn't the only one going crazy.
"There was Bronco (Mendenhall) -- who has this (raising his arms in the air) as his go-to -- is freaking out, running around," Houk said. "It's like, who is that? And everyone was like, 'it's Bronco!' Everyone was so happy, it was awesome."
The senior said it was a little embarrassing to see the replays.
"First I tried to show Coach (Robert) Anae and he got mad," Houk said. "He was like, 'you realize you almost got a flag?' and I was like, 'OK, I'm sorry.' But everyone else was laughing about it. We were sitting in the plane watching the replay and it focuses on Mitch and I was like, OK, here we go. Sure enough, the replay guy was like, 'check out BYU football player Terenn Houk.' Then it zooms in on me and puts a circle around me hugging the ref. I know I'm never going to live that down."
But Houk's come to the conclusion that he's just going to own it.
"You just have to own it because it got blasted all over social media," Houk said. "I had people from like third grade being like, 'hey did you know you..' and I'm like, 'yes, I know.' You have to own it and laugh at it."
No further suspensions: BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall confirmed that the four players who missed Saturday's game due to suspensions will not be suspended for other games.
That means linebacker Sione Takitaki, safety Kai Nacua, receiver Trey Dye and defensive lineman Tomasi Laulile should all be available when the Cougars face Boise State Saturday night.
Other injuries don't look significant: While losing Taysom Hill and Travis Tuiloma to significant injuries changes a lot of things for the Cougars, Mendenhall said a couple of other injuries don't appear to be significant.
"Neither (Manoa Pikula nor Jordan Preator) seem to be doubtful for the game Saturday," Mendenhall said. "I expect them both to be back."
Captain decision still in doubt: BYU only had two captains heading into the season: Taysom Hill and Bronson Kaufusi. Mendenhall said he's not certain right now how that will change with Hill's injury.
"Taysom and I are still working through that," Mendenhall said. "I would like to do everything possible to help Taysom and the team at the same time, so as much as Taysom wants to be involved, however it can be best for him to handle this unique circumstance, I'll work with him first. Once that clarity comes in -- which will probably be after this week -- then we can frame what leadership looks like. We need a little more time on that."