BYU takes on Boise State on the road
PROVO, Utah–BYU football heads to Idaho this week to take on Boise State Friday at 7 pm. MDT on ESPN.
Friday's game will be only the fifth meeting between the two teams. Boise State leads the series with BYU 3-1 after last season's 37-20 Cougar victory at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
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 5 p.m.
BYUtv begins its coverage with Countdown to Kickoff starting at 6 p.m. MDT and concluding with the postgame show following the game. Both shows are available on BYUtv, byutvsports.com and BYU Radio.
BYU (4-3) at Boise State (5-2, 3-1 MW)
Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 at 7 p.m. MDT
Last meeting. BYU last faced Boise State in 2013, when the Cougars defeated the Broncos 37-20 at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
BYU vs. MW. BYU has 275 wins against Mountain West opponents. Its last victory against a team from its former conference was 2013 win against Nevada. Its last matchup with a MW opponent was the Oct. 18 loss to Nevada.
10 seasons. Bronco Mendenhall is now in his 10th season as head coach of the Cougars. Mendenhall has an 86-37 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.
Above the rest. Against Nevada, 6-foot-6 wide receiver Mitch Mathews recorded a career high in receptions with 16, which is second in BYU history behind Jay Miller’s 22 catches vs. New Mexico in 1973. Mathews also had a career-high 182 receiving yards.
CStew. In his second career start, Christian Stewart threw for 408 yards, a career high. He also collected 47 rushing yards.
6 weeks in the spotlight. BYU’s game Friday is its sixth-straight appearance on one of the ESPN networks. BYU has been on an ESPN network for six of its seven games this season, with five appearances on ESPN and one appearance on ESPN2.
His feelings on where the team is:
I feel pretty good about where the team’s at right now. Every single game we’ve come out and given our hardest. I know we’re putting some things together with some changes going on – especially with the offense. I feel great. It’s a great group of guys, and we come out fighting each and every week. We’ve come a little short, but we know we have the capabilities to come out with some wins.
Game plan for Boise State:
We need to come out with the same intensity we had in the first half (against Nevada) and that third quarter at UCF. We just need to figure out how to keep that rolling – continue to make plays on offense so that we don’t have that little hiccup and go a quarter or two without scoring. We’ve got to come out fast with the same intensity and just keep putting the ball in the end zone.
His role on the offense:
Being able to be an asset on the offense, catching the ball – Christian’s got a great arm and he trusts his receivers to run the right routs and be in the right positions. He can make the throws. It’s an awesome offense that we have. By throwing the ball, we saw in the game that our running game is also pretty open. Nate Carter ran the ball pretty well, as well as Paul. We have such weapons on the offense. Being able to throw it is not only opening up the receivers but also the run game.
Dealing with three losses:
It definitely is a rough time. The most important thing is to not get too far down on ourselves – realize that it is a very real situation. We did lose in the past three games. It’s important to be real with ourselves but don’t beat ourselves up so much that we dig ourselves into a hole that we can’t get out of.
Prepping for Boise State:
I think guys are here, ready to work again. It’s been a long weekend and we all have to look each other in the eyes and realize that it’s on us. We’ve played three good teams – they made big plays on us and at the end of the day it was us not executing our assignments well with guys being out of position at the wrong times. Right now I think it takes us being mentally tough and to come together as a unit and to really just start playing BYU defense like we know it needs to be played.
I think repetition is part of fixing our errors. I think a bigger part than that is guys need to be in the film room longer than they are right now. Guys need to spend more time learning the defense and knowing exactly what their assignment is so that they can play faster and not be distracted by things that are going on around them. They have to know exactly what their assignment is and have clean eyes. If they’re playing defensive back, they can’t go around looking in the backfield too much. If you’re a linebacker, you have to know exactly who your keys are. I think if we can get to executing more soundly, it will solve a lot of our problems that we’re seeing right now.
We're working hard. There are just a couple of small mistakes that we're doing as far as turnovers. I think as an offense if we can limit that we'll be just fine.
If BYU wins Friday:
I think the morale will definitely go up a whole lot. We just have to be more prepared as players.
On outside influences:
I don't think we have time to pay attention to that. If we did I think it would just ruin our game. So as a team we kind of have to just stick together and focus on our jobs. and our assignments.
Mentality of the team:
After the game you could tell everybody was frustrated, everybody was down. But coming in today, you could tell dudes are ready to change. Ready to make plays and ready to stop losing.
What does it take to turn it around?
Firstly, I think it starts off with our preparation. I think with the injuries and the younger guys coming in, we have to be more assignment sound. You have to know your job and assignment.
On playing with Christian Stewart:
I think it's good. I think he trusts me. I just have to continue to show him that I can catch the ball and I think he'll keep coming to me.
On the BYU offense:
Some of our problems from the Nevada game were we put our defense in a short field turning the ball over. So that's one thing we have to fix definitely is the turnovers because we've had a lot of those this season.
Really proud of how hard the team played and thought we might be able to pull it off there at the end with Christian driving us. A lot of positives in terms of his growth, offensive production and really defensive play through 71 plays. A few ball security issues at the end of the game. Sudden change we didn't handle very well and the game got away from us. But I liked how hard our team fought. I actually saw quite a bit of improvement despite the loss. Looking forward to playing again. Good opponent, tough setting, but man, that's college football so BYU and Boise State is a good matchup.
On scheduling Boise State:
I think it's good. It's a great regional matchup. Two teams with high profiles, a lot of following, and for us, we're always looking to find good games and over time, teams that will come to Provo. I think it makes sense. Again, whether 12 years or not, whether that even happens–the way contracts go now. I think both schools jumped at the chance for a regional matchup.
On Boise State:
Similar offense to what we've been seeing. Similar to what we just saw from Reno, similar to what we just saw from Central Florida–not identical, but similar–mobile quarterback, really nice running back, multiple formations and shifting and those kind of things, but there's not a giant departure from what we've been playing. Defensively very aggressive. We've had some crossover film from them. We saw them against Nevada. Different style than they've been playing before under their former defensive coordinator...
On possibility of adjusting offensive pillars of success:
Really the focus comes on to how to improve our defensive play. That has been so solid for so, so long. We're more youthful. We're more inexperienced. We have had multiple different challenges injury-wise. So there has been a lot of challenges in addition to that. Rather than adjusting the offensive pillars, we've been working and really focusing to solidify our defensive play.
On Coach Howell:
He has done a really good job. I know that there are the statistics and other things don't bear it out. One thing I underestimated was the youth and lack of experience. So we had some returning players or they might be sophomores, et cetera, but the more I've assessed the guys we're actually playing and playing a lot, there's a lot of youth out there. There's no one who has worked any harder than him(Howell). Really, execution has to catch up pretty fast.
Are you able to capture hearts and minds of players?
Yeah, maybe more so than ever. It's probably the closest team–if you look at their relationships with each other–that we've had maybe ever here. I know this: they're hurting and they want to play well and they want to win. They know that they've gotten close the last two weeks since the loss of Taysom. But they also know that they're not quite executing like they need to in the three to five plays that are separating those wins from losses.
On coaching younger players:
There's two parts right now. One is to demand and one is to inspire. So you have to do both. If you haven't had success the demand can turn negative pretty fast. What they don't need is that happening from us if they're getting it from other places. We want to ask for more and to inspire them to give more, both. We want them to look forward to being here every day.
On defensive execution:
The lack of precision in the number of spots per play on the defensive side is just reflective of not much experience, not great concentration, a lot of guys that just don't have much experience. One more gap over, one head fake here, it really is just the execution. There are all kinds of plays to be made out there, it's just our players being more precise and our coaches helping them be more precise, we'll just have more success.
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