ATHENS, Ga. -- As Blake Anderson thought about all that pink between the hedges, he struggled to hold back the tears.
The emotions are still very raw for the Arkansas State coach, whose wife Wendy died last month after a two-year fight against breast cancer.
But even as time eases the pain, he'll never forget all those Georgia fans who honored his spouse -- and raised awareness for breast cancer research -- by wearing pink instead of red on Saturday.
"It has been a really emotional week," Anderson said after the Red Wolves were routed by the No. 3 Bulldogs 55-0 on Saturday. "I just want to say publicly: one of the classiest moves I've ever seen. It's hard to truly prepare for something like that."
Anderson's voice cracked, but he managed to hold it together.
"I would say thank you to all those who showed up today wearing pink or thinking pink," Anderson said. "They don't know my wife and they don't know me and they didn't have to do it. I'm very grateful and honored and obviously overwhelmed."
The coach said that staying focused on the task at hand -- playing No. 3 Georgia -- kept him from breaking down emotionally.
"I did everything I could leading up to kickoff to try not to just lose it. I somehow held it together," Anderson said. "Maybe the thought that we're about to go play the No. 3 team in the country. But it's been extremely emotional and overwhelming."
His players were equally moved by the gesture, which began with a plea on social media and quickly spread throughout the week.
"I'll be a Georgia fan the rest of my life," Arkansas State center Jacob Still said.
OVERWHELMED, HONORED, and BEYOND GRATEFUL 💕 #NotFightingAlone pic.twitter.com/2xKKz51i8a— Blake Anderson (@CHbanderson) September 14, 2019
It appeared that at least a third of the fans in the announced crowd of 92,746 were wearing pink attire. Shirtless students in the first row behind the Arkansas State painted their upper bodies pink and wrote "Remember Wendy" across their backs.
"Driving up to the game, seeing the fans walking into the stadium wearing pink, it really meant a lot to me," Still said. "But people will probably never understand how much it meant to Coach Anderson. It just puts everything in perspective, college football and all the athletes, this is bigger than football. Georgia didn't have to do that. It just shows that Georgia fans have big hearts and they care, and we're all kind of in this thing together."
Despite the outcome, this one will always hold a special place in Anderson's heart.
It was the perfect way to honor his wife.
"I feel her presence out there," Anderson said. "She's as competitive as I am and supported what we did and all those kids. That's the kind of legacy that keeps you going. I don't want to let her down, either, and her legacy. I've never seen anybody fight as hard as she fought the last two years. If I'm feeling sorry for myself or being lazy, I've got to live up to her legacy."