Football Football Game Notes

BYU heads to Logan to face Utah State

(Photo by BYU Photo/Mark Philbrick)

PROVO, Utah - The BYU football team closes out its regular season against Utah State on Saturday, Nov. 28 in Logan, Utah. Game time is set for 1:30 p.m. MT and the game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.

BYU (8-3) is coming off a 52-10 win over Fresno State in which the team rolled up 520 yards of total offense, including 336 through the air from freshman quarterback Tanner Mangum. Utah State (6-5, 5-3) rallied from down 27-7 to defeat Nevada 31-27 to become bowl eligible for the fifth consecutive year.

The teams will be playing for possession of 'The Old Wagon Wheel,' the traveling trophy between the schools. It became the trophy of the in-state rivalry back in 1948.

Fans can tune in for live coverage on the Cougar IMG Sports Network with Greg Wrubell, which can be found on 1160 AM, 102.7 FM, Sirius XM 143, BYUcougars.com and the BYU Cougars app. IMG's radio coverage will begin at 11:30 a.m. MT. 

BYUtv will provide pregame and postgame coverage, with Countdown to Kickoff starting at 12:30 p.m. MT. Postgame coverage runs for half an hour after the game. 

BYU (8-3) at Utah State (6-5, 5-3)
Saturday, Nov. 28
Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. MT
Maverik Stadium
Logan, Utah
#BYUvsUSU

BYU Game Notes
Utah State Notes

GAME NOTES

LAST MEETING. This is the 85th meeting between BYU and Utah State. The Aggies won the last game 35-20 in Provo in 2014, the first win in Provo since 1978 for Utah State. The Cougars lost quarterback Taysom Hill to a leg injury in the first half and couldn’t come back from an early deficit.

COUGARS TURNED AGGIES. About 126 miles from BYU, Utah State has several staff members that spent time at BYU either as a coach or a player including associate head coach Mark Weber, director of player personnel Reed Hornung, special assistant Dave Kragthorpe and graduate assistant Kelly Bills.

MOUNTAIN WEST. The Cougars are facing an opponent from the Mountain West for the fourth time this season with a chance to go 4-0 against their old league. BYU defeated Boise State, San Jose State and Fresno State earlier this year. The Cougars are 281-154-13 against current Mountain West teams. 

PLAYING FRESHMEN. BYU has played 29 freshmen this season (16 true, 13 redshirts), the third-most in the country. Only Rice (31) and TCU (30) have played more freshmen than the Cougars. 

REGULAR SEASON FINALE. Under Mendenhall, BYU is 7-3 in final regular season games. 

BLUE ZONE SCORING. BYU is the No. 1 offensive team in the FBS inside the 20, scoring at a rate of 95.3 percent, just ahead of San Diego State’s No. 2 rank with 95.0 percent. The Cougars TD percentage of 72.1 percent is ranked No. 12, just behind Oklahoma State’s 73.1 percent.

QUOTES

Utah State head coach Matt Wells, QB Chuckie Keeton and NG David MoalaVideo Link

BYU head coach Bronco MendenhallVideo Link

I thought we played a good game on Saturday. There's certainly plenty to improve on. I liked our offensive balance, especially in the second half. I think the defense played consistently. On special teams, we still have a long way to go. It wasn't our best game special teams wise. But, with the nature of the opponent and how we handled it, and quite frankly the attendance of the game and the kind of day we had as an Independent, I was pleased with the outcome. And now, it's an intriguing matchup for our last one, which is fun. It's a chance to get our ninth win, so we're certainly playing for that. Hopefully, we'll also be improving our team and our program against a good opponent.

On winning in-state games:

It doesn't change anything. I think any program, not just BYU, that wants to do well starts with playing well at home. That's one of the first things you have to do. The second thing you have to do is play well in state, and then regionally is third. I think it all expands outward. 

How has the Utah State rivalry evolved since you've been here?

I'm not sure it has evolved in terms of the nature of the game, other than I think that Utah State has improved their program. Early on, when I became the head coach, Utah State wasn't competitive within their league or just on a yearly basis. There's been a significant change to that, and I think that's great for the state of Utah, for the high school prospects and the quality of games that they play against us and the University of Utah, and this year with Southern Utah as well. They're really well coached and a really good team. I'm very impressed.

On Bronson and NFL scouting:

There's been tons of calls and contact through Pat Hickman, who handles all of our players for the NFL. There's been a lot of attention, and he could give you more quantitative data to go with that. But, I don't remember any more ever coming through than what I've seen now.

On Chuckie Keeton possibly starting:

I think he helped build that program, and I have a lot of respect for that. He's thrown his heart and soul into that program. He's seen some of the hard things and he's seen some of the great things, and he's been right at the epicenter of all of that. I think he's a really good player and a good leader, and he should be given a ton of credit for what's happened at Utah State. I think it would be fitting for him to get the start and get a great chance to lead his team against BYU in his last home game. I'm obviously not the decision maker, but it seems like a pretty fitting ending for me. I have a ton of respect for him.

You're No. 1 in red zone scoring. To what do you attribute that?

I like that number. Obviously, Coach Anae should get full credit for that. There's hasn't been anything that we've changed practice-structure wise, and we haven't changed anything from an organizational perspective. It must be just something he's targeted and worked hard on in the offensive room.

WR Mitch Mathews, Sr.

It’d be nice to get Devon and Kurt in the mix against Utah State, whether they are catching it or throwing it. It would be huge to get those guys involved this next game to get them a touchdown.

On having family at the game:

All my aunts and uncles live in the Logan area, so that definitely adds meaning to this week’s game. Luckily, we wear the same colors as Utah State, but who knows what the shirt underneath will say. Hopefully it says BYU.

On last time played at Utah State:

I had my first career touchdown last time we played at Utah State. They are a very good team, and rivalry games are always close. So, whatever their record is compared to ours doesn’t matter. We need to just throw that aside and play football.

On what coach said:

Coach Mendenhall said this morning that he wants this team to be nameless and faceless. Which means we don’t care who we are playing this week, we just need to play football. But, at the same time you can tell by how our coaches are carrying themselves and how intense they are at practice that it is a big time in-state game.

On what it's like being a senior: 

It hasn’t hit me yet that I won’t be back playing at Lavell Edwards Stadium. Guys have asked me, “How does it feel?” But, I honestly haven’t felt it yet. I’m glad that I have had a great time here at BYU. My time here is full of great memories with great wins, home and away. I’ve definitely been a part of something special, and it will hit me for sure, it just hasn’t yet.

On Senior Day:

It was a special and emotional senior game. It was fun to have all that emotional come out. In a senior game, you kind of play with a passion you haven’t played with before, where you want to make a big play because it’s the last time you’ll play in that stadium.

WR Mitchell Juergens, Jr.

On team preparation during Thanksgiving week:

I think the mindset is the same this week. We’ll eat turkey on Thursday, but everything else stays the same, and we’re just ready to play.

On what’s at stake this week:

I think the main thing for us this week is finishing strong. We know we’re a good team and when you play Utah State you know they’re going to come out and play hard, so you know what’s at stake. We’ve got a lot of passionate seniors who really want to finish the season strong, and to get to 10 wins, we have to win the game this week. It’s a big came and we’re going to prepare for it like it’s a big game.

On overcoming last year’s defeat:

We talked about what happened last year briefly today. It doesn’t matter what our records are at this point, it’s Utah State vs. BYU and there’s going to be a lot of fire for the game. We know that we have to come out and start fast and finish strong and execute the best we can so that we can end up on top.

On finishing the season against an in-state opponent:

I think it’s awesome. Sometimes the season can be hard, its long and you get tired and your body wears out. But knowing that the last game is a rivalry gives you a lot of motivation and it provides a lot of motivation for guys on the team. No one wants to lose in their home state to finish the season.

On familiarity with Utah State:

I didn’t hear much about their football program until I got here. But they’re a good football team–a good Division I football team–and there’s a lot of athletes in Utah. It’s a good program and I’m excited to play them.

On playing for a bowl destination:

There’s always talk about the bowl game. Whether its Vegas or Hawaii, either one will be great. There’s mixed feelings about both, but the good thing is that we’re just glad that we have this last game before all of that, and we want to prepare well so that we can win and come out on top.

On Remington Peck’s TD pass:

Remington has a great arm. He’s a senior and Terenn is a senior, so it was an awesome fit for Senior Night to see those two guys hook up.

On the progress of Tanner Mangum this year:

I think you really just see his maturity grow. It’s a confidence level that you really see in his eyes. He knows that every time when we step on the field, we’re going to make things happen. I think we’ve been able to build a lot of chemistry with Tanner, and it’s a comfortable feeling to be able to be out there with him knowing that we can move the ball against anyone. It takes everyone doing their particular role, and when we do that, we know that we can be one of the best offenses in the country.

On what to expect from Utah State:

We know we can expect them to be very fast and athletic, just an aggressive team. It doesn’t matter what they’ve done in the past, when they come to play BYU there’s going to be a lot of passion and aggression so we have to be ready to come out really strong and ready to go.

On different schedule this year, but facing a familiar school:

I think it does help. We’re definitely not going to look past them, it really doesn’t matter what our records are at this point. It’s BYU vs. Utah State and neither of us wants to come out on the bottom so it’s going to be a dogfight from the beginning. 

DL Tevita Mo’unga, Fr.

On Bronson Kaufusi:

He is a quiet dude. He definitely speaks out more by leading by example.

On his learning and growth:

I have a long way to go. I have a lot of learning to do with my coaches and players. I’m really thankful for the sophomores, juniors and seniors that are helping me get to where I need to be and put me on the same level as them and hopefully produce for this team. Coming in as a young pup, I need to learn how to be a teammate and be like those who wore the number before me.

On Utah State:

I haven’t even seen Utah State play. I’ve never even been to Logan. I’m from California, so it hasn’t been on my radar. I’m excited to play this team and see what they’re like and see their location. 

On mentoring from older players:

Ever since I got here, Travis and Bronson have been helping me out. They take me out for extra time to get my feet, hips and hands right. They are big mentors to me. They have been helping me a lot, so I really appreciate those guys.

On Remington’s touchdown pass:

We were excited! As a D-line, we were pumped. To see him go in and throw as a QB, we thought he was an animal.