Football Event Preview

BYU on the road vs. Middle Tennessee

(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football hits the road to take on Middle Tennessee Saturday at 2:30 p.m. CDT.

The game will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network, with kickoff slated for 2:34 p.m. CBS Sports Network is available on DirecTV Channel 221 (with Choice Extra package), Dish Channel 158 (Classic Silver 200 package) and Comcast Channel 753 in Utah and Salt Lake Counties (Digital Preferred package). For cable channels outside Utah, check with your local provider.  

This is only the second matchup between the Cougars and the Blue Raiders. BYU won 37-10 in the teams' first meeting in 2013.

Radio broadcast coverage is available through the Cougar IMG Sports Network via BYUcougars.com, Sirius XM 143, KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM and the BYU Cougars app. Radio coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. CDT

BYUtv begins its coverage with Countdown to Kickoff starting at 1:30 p.m. CDT and concluding with the postgame show following the game. Both shows are available on BYUtv, byutvsports.com and BYU Radio.

BYU (4-4) at Middle Tennessee (5-3)
Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014 at 2:34 p.m. CDT
Johnny "Red" Floyd Stadium
Murfreesboro, Tennessee

BYU Game Notes

Middle Tennessee Game Notes

Notes

Last meeting. BYU and Middle Tennessee met for the first time last season when the Cougars pulled off a 37-10 victory in Provo.

BYU vs. C-USA. BYU is 34-11-1 against Conference USA opponents. Its last matchup with a C-USA team was the Middle Tennessee game in 2013.

10 seasons. Bronco Mendenhall is now in his 10th season as head coach of the Cougars. Mendenhall has an 86-38 record, and BYU ranks 12th in total wins nationally during his tenure.

Beating the best. Since 2003, BYU has 17 wins against Power 5 schools, which ranks second among non-Power 5 schools behind fellow independent Navy. BYU has the longest season streak, with nine straight seasons with a Power 5 win.

No. 3. Sophomore receiver Colby Pearson hauled in a career-high 109 yards against Boise State Oct. 24 and had an 81-yard touchdown run, the longest of his career.

CStew. Christian Stewart recorded 259 pass yards against Boise State, the second most in his career. He also earned his first rushing touchdown as a Cougar, as well as his longest pass (81 yards to Colby Pearson).

9 weeks in the spotlight. BYU’s game Saturday will be its ninth straight on national TV. BYU has been on ESPN six times, ESPN2 once and Fox Sports 1 once. Saturday’s game will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network.

 

Monday Media Briefing Quotes

 

BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall

Having met with the players I'm anxious to get back to work. I think there's a sense or resolve, there's a sense of commitment, there's a sense of urgency and we are anxiouis to work and get ready to play our next opponent.  

You called the defensive plays against Boise State, will that continue?
No, what I plan to do is just support all our coaches the best way that I can. And so one of the next steps for our program to really grow and develop is to keep continuing and increasing the capacity of the coaches on the staff. I'll certainly be not only an aid to coach Howell but to coach Anae, and I'll help any way that I can to make sure the plans are exactly how they are supposed to be. My main role is to continue to increase their capability to have the players do what they're supposed to do.

Regarding helping players with the various external pressures:
I'm not sure exactly, with the way that social media is. That's how this generation communicates…some of the things shared with me are pretty cruel. My advice to them is to not participate, but that's this generation's mode of communicating. The best thing I think I can do is make sure our football offices and practice and culture here is a place where they want to be. It's a sanctuary for them to do something they love and work very, very hard and be unified with their teammates as there is not much of that that they're getting elsewhere.

How do you keep in balance the pressure on players:
I've just tried to share with them that my responsibility as the head coach is to help them all be most prepared. And really, I've designed the organization, brought in the people and the way we've performed so far, regardless of circumstances, is really my responsibility. I would love to have ownership from the players, but I don't want them to shoulder that to the point where they think that it's their fault or anything. That's my job. I'd like to just help them and encourage them to where they feel capable and anxious to play the next game and to play the sport they love.

Regarding the decision to call plays against Boise State and then to relinquish them again:
It's pretty simple. With the type of offense that Boise State ran with our current personnel, with the current state of our team, there had to absolutely be another resource in the room. There has been four since I've left at the beginning of the year, and there needs to be more. So I'll play more of an active role in there. But I thought I could help more immediately for that week in that spot in trying to get the team ready. As a result of that, I knew there would be tradeoffs in other places. Currently with this team that's kind of what's happens. Some of game management was part of that. I didn't feel good about that part.

Is Middle Tennessee similar to last year's team?
Similar in terms of scheme and personnel, a lot of the same guys. They're having success. I think 5-3 at this point. Certainly capable…Our focus right now is really just on improving our team, and I've got a lot of work to do for the guys to enjoy playing the game, to feel anxious to just go out and perform well and to enjoy the whole experience. That's the biggest challenge right now.

Losing is difficult, do you feel everybody is still on the same page?
I do. We're all competitors, coaches and players. Each person goes through kind of their own grieving process so to speak. Coaches have to do it fast. Players are normally more resilient. I don't sense any splintering, wavering, segmenting—I sense resolve and how fast can we play again is what I'm sensing.

 

Senior WR Jordan Leslie

On mindset:
Of course we're a little disappointed, I mean, it's been four games. We're coming in with a strong mindset, a competitive mindset. We need to prove something. We need to come out and play strong.

Mindset coming out in the game against Boise State:
I don't think we came out as aggressive as we should have. We weren't disciplined in some areas and we need to work on that. We kind of got behind and we started picking it up, but it was already too late.

Do you feel it's necessary to work on confidence?
Of course, once you lose four games in a row, you kind of start doubting a little. But there's none of that in the locker room. You have that confidence, that competitive edge, we want to get back out there. We kind of have a bad taste of last weekend's game so we want to get that off our chest and come out this week in practice a little more disciplined and work on…little fundamentals and come out Saturday.

Key for the offense to get off to better start:
Everyone doing their job. If everyone on the field does their job then our offense will work smooth. We've seen plenty of glimpses of that where we've had big plays, big series and stuff like that. If we're able to do that, then it'll work.

Has the offense been simplified?
With Stew, I know a lot of people think, 'Oh, we lost Taysom.' But Stew's a great athlete. Stew's our quarterback now. He's done a great job. Each week he has improved. Each week you improve, you get more of the offense and stuff like that. No one knows the offense like Stew. He's studying, he's watching film all the time. We haven't even been golfing lately because he's always watching film. He wants to get better and his dream was always to play for BYU and be the quarterback so he kind of takes that on his shoulders.

Senior DB Skye PoVey

On team morale:
Obviously we feel like we're not playing to our potential. I think that's expected. We're disappointed. I mean plays we've given up, the way we've played, but I think at the same time it's things we can fix. Watching film, there was nothing magical they were doing, it wasn't that they were just better, it was assignment mistakes and it was things I think we can fix through our assignments and through our effort.

Are they the same mistakes or what do you see from the guys?
Not trying to make excuses or anything. We do have a lot of young guys and a lot of guys that are playing new positions. Our defense is tough and Coach Mendenhall's scheme–it's very complicated. I think a lot of guys are just trying to feel it out and figure it out. I think that we should get it together. Like I said, not trying to make any excuses for anybody. I think us seniors, me, Craig, you know--Rem, we need to help bring other guys along and get them on the same page.

On play calling from Coach Mendenhall and Coach Howell:
Coach Mendenhall has a lot of years play calling. I think Coach Howell has called a really good season as well. I think if anything, that was just evidence that it's on us. Nothing to do with the coaching. We're being coached really well. We're prepared really well. I think each and every week we've had a great scheme. I think at the end of the day we're not making the plays that need to be made.