Football Event Preview

BYU to play Savannah State on Senior Day

(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football will take to the field at LaVell Edwards Stadium for the last time in 2014 Saturday at 1 p.m. MST against Savannah State. The team will honor its 26 seniors prior to the game.

Kickoff is slated for 1:05 p.m. MST. BYUtv will broadcast the game live. Prior to kickoff, BYUtv starts coverage with its Countdown to Kickoff at noon and will conclude with a one-hour postgame show.

The IMG Cougar Sports Network will also provide a live broadcast, available on byucougars.com, KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM and the BYU Cougars app. 

Savannah State (0-11, 0-8 MEAC) at BYU (6-4)
Saturday, Nov. 22, 2014 at 1:05 p.m. MST
LaVell Edwards Stadium
Provo, Utah

BYU Notes

Savannah State Notes

Notes

Last meeting. Saturday’s game is the first between BYU and Savannah State

BYU vs. MEAC. This is BYU’s first meeting with an MEAC team in football.

10 seasons. Bronco Mendenhall is now in his 10th season as head coach of the Cougars. Mendenhall has an 87-38 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.

Ray Guy Award semifinalist. BYU punter Scott Arellano recorded the longest punt in BYU history and in the NCAA this season with an 81-yarder vs. Middle Tennessee. He broke former NFL punter Lee Johnson’s BYU record set in 1983 vs. Wyoming. Arellano also has the third longest punt (76 yards) in the NCAA this season.

11 weeks in the spotlight. BYU’s game Saturday will be its 11th straight on a network availble nationally. BYU has been on ESPN six times, ESPN2 once, ESPNU once, Fox Sports 1 once and CBS Sports Network once. Saturday’s game will be the Cougars’ only live game on BYUtv this season.

Senior Day. Saturday’s game is BYU’s Senior Day. Senior players will be honored prior to the game.

10 Bowls. BYU has accepted an invitation to the Miami Beach Bowl on Dec. 22. This is the 10th straight bowl game for Bronco Mendenhall and the Cougars, who have a 6-3 bowl record.

QUOTES

BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall

I was impressed with the way we managed the game and also the way we threw the ball. I thought we attacked downfield at a higher level than we have, which I was encouraged to see. And I think our defense played more consistently so overall an improved performance and looking forward to now senior day for our 26 guys that will graduate.

On Bronson Kaufusi:

So we have a different personnel group that basically puts Bronson at defensive end. There’s still some possibilities for him to stand up or be down, but about three weeks ago it became clear where he might fit within this particular defense and this personnel and his production–it just keeps climbing and climbing–that was probably his strongest game of the season.

On this point of the season:

It starts becoming more of I’m not going to say reminiscent, but looking for more opportunities to communicate and share experiences. I think there’s a little more of an effort on both parts to provide everything so that we can have a great finish.

Characterize this group of seniors:

I think they’ve been resilient. I think they’ve been hard-working and I think they’ve accomplished a lot and I really like their leadership through a lot of unique challenges this year. That’s probably how I’ll think about them most is their consistency and resiliency through a lot of unique challenges.

On Harvey Jackson:

Optimism and gratitude. He’s thankful for the way he’s coached here. He’s thankful for the opportunity the program’s given him. He’s thankful for the environment. He wishes he had more time here. So it’s really nice to coach someone that’s thankful and expresses gratitude.

On when Savannah State coming:

It’s a difficult time for the game and they’re struggling. It’s a long ways for Savannah State to come play football. The way scheduling works now and for the ability for people to set games and then not keep games and then it’s a really unique circumstance–being independent adds kind of a perfect storm to this particular one.

On the experiences of Harvey Jackson and Jordan Leslie:

What’s been great about both those young men is that they fit here, meaning they’re both academically strong, they have strong character and they’re good football players. And they’ve required zero maintenance or special attention. They’ve come in and just been grateful to be part of the team, grateful for the rules, grateful for the wins and just happy to be part of the team, which is very refreshing. And I think their life experiences and maturity have helped that.

WR Jordan Leslie

Summing up this year:

It’s sad that we have two more games left. It’ll be the last home game. I know I haven’t been here four years, but it’s still kind of–a little sad. I’m not going to be able to play with these fans anymore…I’ve enjoyed every minute with this team, the brothers on this team and the family that I’ve made will be family for life.

Is Savannah State a lesser opponent?

Not at all because we didn’t come out and play like we wanted to against UNLV. We want to come out and show how dominant our offense can be, how dominant our defense can be and as a team–as a whole. We kind of want to come out strong and treat it just like any other game. We don’t look at the record, we just look at the next opponent and see what they do.

On Christian Stewart’s progression:

I’ve been impressed with him. Coming in, every quarterback has got to be nervous coming in and seeing Taysom Hill go down, I mean that’s BYU’s quarterback Taysom Hill. Every game has gotten better and that’s what you expect from a quarterback.  I’ve seen him grow as a leader and on the field. I’m very proud of him. He’s done a great job.

DL Travis Tuiloma

On defensive performance:

I thought that we came together as a defensive unit and we did good. We could have done better as far as the points that we gave up at the end of the first half. Other than that, I thought we played pretty good.

On Bronson Kaufusi:

It’s good. It adds a lot of variety as far as our schemes in pass rushing. So far he’s our best pass rusher right now as far as coming off the edges. It’s been helpful for us.

On senior day:

It’s definitely a fun time, but also, I guess you could say bittersweet. It’s been so much fun looking up to the older guys, helping them out with their last season here at BYU so it’s going to be fun, but sad at the same time when it ends.