No. 22 BYU heads to the Big House to face Michigan
PROVO, Utah – Heading on the road for the third time in four weeks, No. 22 BYU travels to the Big House to face Michigan on Saturday, Sept. 26. Kickoff is set for 12:00 p.m. ET and will be televised nationally on ABC.
The Cougars (2-1) are coming off a one-point loss to No. 9/11 UCLA at the Rose Bowl. BYU went toe-to-toe with the Bruins but came up short in a 24-23 comeback effort by UCLA. Michigan (2-1, 0-0) dropped its first game of the year to Utah but has bounced back with consecutive wins over Oregon State and UNLV.
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 10 a.m. ET.
BYUtv will provide pregame and postgame coverage, with Countdown to Kickoff starting at 11 a.m. ET. Postgame coverage runs for half an hour after the game.
No. 22 BYU (2-1) at Michigan (2-1, 0-0)
Saturday, Sept. 26, 2015
Kickoff: 12:00 p.m. ET
Michigan Stadium (109,901)
Ann Arbor, Mich.
The last and only time BYU and Michigan squared off it was a magical season for the Cougars. BYU beat Michigan 24-17 in the Holiday Bowl to finish a perfect 13-0, winning the national championship. Robbie Bosco completed 30 of 42 passes for 343 yards and two touchdowns, both coming in the fourth quarter. Bosco hit Glen Kozlowski with just under 11 to play to tie the game at 17-17 and then found Kelly Smith with 1:23 left to go up 24-17 and BYU held on to win it. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh was a member of that 1984 Michigan team but did not play in the game due to a broken arm suffered earlier in the season.
Both BYU and Michigan are two programs toward the top of college football in wins since 1975. Over the last 40 seasons, BYU has 356 wins to rank No. 5 overall while Michigan has 350 to rank No. 6. BYU defeated Nebraska earlier this season, who ranks No. 1 with 390 wins.
Despite the loss to UCLA, the Cougars remained in the Associated Press poll at No. 22. It is the first time BYU has been ranked in back-to-back weeks since weeks three and four of the 2014 season. BYU is 160-50 since 1922 when competing as a ranked team.
AGAINST THE BIG TEN
BYU doesn’t have a lot of experience against the Big Ten in its history, but knocked off Nebraska to start the year. The Cougars are 4-7-1 against current Big Ten teams in its history.
STATE OF MICHIGAN
The Cougars haven’t played in the state of Michigan since 1999’s Motor City Bowl. The Cougars lost to Marshall 21-3. BYU has played three regular season games against Western Michigan in the state, going 1-2 in the state of Michigan.
Linebacker Harvey Langi was named the Independent Defensive Player of the Week by College Sports Madness. Langi set a career high with eight tackles and grabbed his first two career interceptions. He also ran the ball twice on third down for the BYU offense, converting both.
Bronco Mendenhall, head coach
After reviewing the game, a few things stood out. I really like our quarterback, Tanner Mangum. He played a very good game, and he’s poised beyond his experience. Our team has tremendous confidence in him and so do our coaches. He managed the game well. Adam Hiné has stood out from the second half of the Boise State game and on. I really like what I’m seeing from him and our offensive front blocking-wise. We’re gaining momentum that way also. Our receivers still continue to catch the ball well.
Defensively, our turnover creation–from the Boise State and UCLA game–is kind of one of our identities now. Also, we’re good on third down now. If we can get a team to third down, we’re strong . That’s a trend that’s starting to emerge.
Our special teams play took a step backwards in that game. UCLA outperformed us in that area, and probably one of the biggest plays of that game was the punt return. It obviously gave them some momentum back.
I think we have a good team that’s on the verge of becoming a great team possibly with some work. There’s still a ways to go, but I think we’re a good football team.
On the tackling in the UCLA game:
It wasn’t good. We still have a long ways to go in terms of tackling. There were five rushes totaling 173 yards in that game and every one of them had an unblocked player that missed a tackle. To become a great and dominant defense, tackling is key. It doesn’t change over night, but step by step, day by day, it will come.
Most frustrating element of the UCLA game:
I would have liked to have given up one less score defensively, when we scored and they answered right back. We had the lead and we were in control of the game for a long time and earned the win. But, we’ve found the difference right now for us between winning and losing against good teams is one play. That comes with whom we’re playing and where we’re playing them and where our team is. It’s just that we had a great chance to win and fell a little short.
On the team:
We have respect at this point nationally. You have to keep earning it and you have keep playing well. So far, we’re an exciting team to watch. You can tune in right until the end to see what the outcome is going to be. Maybe Michigan will be another one of those games.
Familiarity with Michigan and Harbaugh:
I don’t have any ties or affiliations to Michigan or Harbaugh. The closest thing is if Greg Madison is there. Brady Hoke was his graduate assistant and I was Brad Hoke’s graduate assistant. If Greg is still there I’m like a grandson to him through Brady Hoke.
On running the ball:
They are basically Stanford when Harbaugh was there. That’s no slight to either one. If I’m describing it, that’s what I see. They have a lot of big people, extra tight ends and big backs. They are just running and smashing it. We’ll need bigger people and healthier people. We’ll try and match it best we can.
QB Tanner Mangum, Fr.
Obviously it always hurts to come out with a loss. You know, that flight home is always a little bit somber, but at the same time we feel motivated – we feel confident. We did some good things: a lot of positives on both sides of the ball, so a lot of things to build on. If anything, our confidence has continued to build and we’re excited for this week of practice to get better and hopefully improve against Michigan.
On playing against UCLA:
I felt good out there. I felt like I was confident; I felt calm – you know, just taking it one play at a time. And I felt, mentally, I was better against UCLA than Boise State. And maybe that just comes from experience, but just being able to be out there play-by-play, knowing my job, knowing what my reads are and just to go out there and play – it felt good. But obviously, looking back at the film, there’s a lot I can work on. I take a lot of that loss on me, and the offense, as a whole. There are a lot of things we can improve on to help our team win.
We need to work on just making plays when it matters most. We converted a lot of third downs, especially in the fourth quarter, but when it comes down to it, we need to be able to convert some of those red zone drives – or blue zone drives – into touchdowns.
Hindsight’s always 20/20 so it doesn’t do any good looking back and dwelling on it; you just have to learn from it and put it behind you. Just focus on what’s next.
I’m not worried; our receivers played great: they made some great plays throughout the night and I’m just grateful that we can bounce back, that we’re all keeping our heads up and we’re not going to keep our heads down. We’re going to just get ready for Saturday.
WR Nick Kurtz, Jr.
On coming to BYU:
Football has a lot of ups and downs, but for the most part, since I’ve been healthy, I’ve had a great time. I love my life out here and have a lot of great friends. Football’s been amazing and we’ve had some pretty good experiences so far.
I never thought I was going to get hurt and have to redshirt, but other than that, everything’s been awesome. I’ve had a great time here. This team looks really good too. There aren’t many other teams that are as connected as this one is, so I really love it.
On Tanner Mangum:
I actually got pretty close with Tanner as soon as he came back because I knew he was going to be my quarterback at least for next year. I didn’t expect it to happen this season, but guys go down and other guys come up and step up, so I definitely have a good relationship with him. I think the rest of the receiver corps does as well.
Tanner’s done amazing. To come in like that as a freshman right off a mission and play quarterback in the way that he has – I definitely think he’s done some incredible things. I mean – you guys have seen him.
DL Graham Rowley, Sr.
On having coach Mendenhall:
The intensity is way up on the defense now, especially with the teams we have played and will play. They’re big and strong, and we need everything that we’ve got.
On Michigan’s power:
We’re ready for that. We thought UCLA was going to do more of that, so we prepared ourselves. Power involves not as much movement or running around. You just dig into the dirt and power back. I’m excited for that.
On the rushing yards given up against UCLA:
That was terrible. I think we’re a better team than that. To come off only giving up around 60 yards against Boise State and then let UCLA run that much, it wasn’t good. But, it was a teaching moment for us that we need to learn how to tackle and wrap up and finish. It’s kind of a blessing that it happened to us, even though it’s disguised as a failure. We can do better, and we will do better.
We're not giving up. This is just a minor speed bump and we're going to get over it.
DB Mike Wadsworth, Sr.
On the defense against UCLA:
We can be a lot sharper in our technique or assignments. On a lot of the big runs we were just one gap off or we got beat to the spot. They are very little things that are very fixable that we’ll work on in practice for Michigan.
On working hard in practice and hard games:
You’ve just got to trust the process. We’ll go hard Tuesday and Wednesday, and then you go to the training room and your body will be better by Saturday. We trust the coaches because they’ve told us this for years now. It’s worked in the past, so nothing’s really changed in the game.
On personal responsibility:
I love it. It could always go the other way when we’re all pointing the finger. That just causes contention. When people are taking the blame on themselves and not all of it, but just their spot and their plays, it helps us recognize a mindset of wanting to improve and knowing that we can.
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