BYU hosts UConn at home Friday
PROVO, Utah - BYU football returns home after back-to-back road games to start a four-game homestand. The Cougars are set to begin the month of October with a Friday night matchup against the University of Connecticut on Oct. 2. Kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m. and the game will be nationally televised on ESPN2 and Watch ESPN online.
After a road-heavy September for BYU (2-2), the UConn (2-2, 0-1) game is the start of four straight October tilts at home with East Carolina, Cincinnati and Wagner filling out the rest of the month.
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 6 p.m. MT.
BYUtv will provide pregame and postgame coverage, with Countdown to Kickoff starting at 7 p.m. MT. Postgame coverage runs for half an hour after the game.
BYU (2-2) vs UConn (2-2, 0-1)
Friday, Oct. 2
Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. MT
LaVell Edwards Stadium (63,470)
BYU is facing UConn for just the second time in school history. The Cougars topped UConn 35-10 in the 2014 season opener. BYU totaled 513 yards of total offense, led by 308 passing yards from Taysom Hill to go along with 97 rushing yards, accounting for five total touchdowns. He threw three and ran for two more scores.
HOME SWEET HOME.
The team returns home after back-to-back road games and playing three out of four on the road to start the season. BYU won its home opener against Boise State with a 35-24 comeback win. The Cougars start a series of four straight home games with UConn, East Carolina (Homecoming), Cincinnati and Wagner.
LOOKING FOR 300.
BYU’s record in Provo is 299-134-6 since 1922. A win over UConn will give the Cougars their 300th program win in Provo. Since moving into LaVell Edwards Stadium, BYU is 226-69. Under Mendenhall the Cougars have gone 51-11 at home.
BYU is 8-2 under Mendenhall in the fifth game of the year. The Cougars have outscored opponents 30-20 in the fifth game of the year over the last 10 seasons.
SPREADING THE WEALTH.
12 different players have caught a pass for BYU this season. Nine of the 12 have recorded multiple catches. In the run game, nine different players have had touches running the ball in 2015.
MITCH AND MITCHELL.
BYU’s pair of receivers both named Mitch have been go-to targets in the first four games. The combo of Mitch Mathews and Mitchell Juergens have combined for 33 receptions, 439 yards and five touchdowns.
THE BIG THREE.
BYU’s receiving combination of Mitch Mathews, Nick Kurtz and Terenn Houk stands at 6-foot-6, 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-4. The three big receivers accounted for 38 receptions, 459 yards and three touchdowns.
OFFENSIVE LINE EXPERIENCE.
BYU returns an experienced offensive line for 2015. The five projected starters for BYU have logged 88 starts between them and have played in 107 games. Offensive tackle Ryker Mathews has the most games under his belt with 26 starts in 37 games played.
The Cougars are starting a true freshman quarterback for just the fourth time. Tanner Mangum and Taysom Hill are the only two to win their first starts as true freshman. BYU has also had significant contributors as freshman this year with wide receiver Moroni Laulu-Pututau and running back Francis Bernard.
THIRD DOWN IS KEY
In half their games in 2015, the Cougars have held opponents to a third-down conversion rate of under 20 percent. BYU held opposing offenses to under 20 percent in only two games in 2014 (vs. Savannah St. & Texas).
THREE AND OUT
The BYU defense has held opponents to three and out in 21 out of 52 drives this season, averaging 5.25 times per game holding opponents to four downs or less per possession. The Cougars are tied for No. 25 in the country along with Florida and Colorado.
BYU is 51-8 under Bronco Mendenhall with a positive turnover margin. Neither the Cougars nor the Wolverines had turnovers in last Saturday’s game.
The Cougars have picked off opponents three times per game in the past three out of five games dating back to the bowl game in 2014, contributing to a 2015 season total of seven interceptions.
GETTING BEHIND THE LINE
In 2014, the Cougars were 4-0 when notching at least three sacks in a game. In 2015, they are 2-0. Since 2005, BYU is 43-2 when notching three or more sacks in a single game.
It was a hard game in terms of how we played. There were certainly a lot of correctable things in terms of simple execution, consistency or communication. But I don’t take anything away from Michigan. They’re a really good team and they played particularly well that game. I still like our team, and there are some good things I took away from the game.
Somewhere between the first three games and this last game is where our team really is. I’ve taken the approach with the team to get the most out of everyday, but only one day. Today, we’ll get the most out of Monday that we can. Tomorrow, we’ll get the most out of Tuesday that we can. We wont focus on any day or any game that is farther out than that day.
On what the next step is:
It is one day at a time and only one game at a time. Regardless of whom we’ve played, what the outcome was determined on was how we played. I showed examples of that.
On the postgame interviews:
If I were to reframe it, we’ve played four games, we’ve won two and we’ve lost two. We’ve played really well in three games and not played well in one. I think it’s just a new start for the rest of the year rather than going all the way back. That month is over and now it’s time to play the rest of our season. I would have said it in that tone and that way, and I’m sure it didn’t come out in that tone after the game. I was not in a good place after the game.
Nate Carter, RB, Sr.
On running back injuries:
“Those are some of my best friends. There’s a lot of pride in our friendships. It’s really hard to watch those guys go down because you love them. We’re going to be fine moving forward, though. I believe that.”
On Francis Bernard:
Francis Bernard is a phenomenal player. He brings a lot to the team. I think he’s a hybrid like Algie (Brown). He’ll go out and throw a block but then run the ball really well. He’s a fullback that can really run the ball. He’s a big, powerful guy. He’s really done a great job.
I wouldn’t say the offense is limited with Tanner [Mangum] instead of Taysom [Hill]. Taysom went down early last year too, but Christian Stewart came in and did a great job. I think with Tanner it’s a similar situation. Our offense is different now and it takes some time to adjust, but we had a great end to our season last year and I think it will be the same this year with Tanner.
Graham Rowley, DL, Sr.
On mood of the team:
Hungry. It was a tough loss, but you can’t travel back in time and do it all over again. So we have to look forward and fight for every win we can get. We’re not down. That’s what Connecticut wants us to be, because then they can take advantage, but we’re in the fight and we’re going for it.
On the loss:
It wasn’t because Michigan was better than us, it was because we weren’t ready for that play or situation at that time and that’s all on us. We got to the ball a lot better this game and tackled a lot better this game than against UCLA. I think we’re getting better.
Defense against Michigan:
Michigan wanted to move around their blockers and confuse us. They did a lot of motioning to throw us off and they did. They threw us off. Our scheme was to move with the mover. Second half we came out and played base defense. It was so much better.
Where to go from here:
We’re hungry. We have that bitter taste in our mouth that we want to get out. We want to get back on that winning streak. This is a reminder that we have to play better football if we want to win, and I believe we’re going to do that this week, next month and the rest of the season.
Terenn Houk, WR, Sr.
How to beat man coverage:
Same way we try to beat any team on man, we have to be very physical off the ball. Coach Anae stressed that all week against Michigan. As players, that’s our job to step up and be as physical as we can and we just didn’t get that job done. We need to do a better job against UConn.
Playing against big teams:
It’s been hard, but it’s been an awesome experience. We’ve got to play at places like the Big House, Nebraska and UCLA. I never thought my senior year I’d get to play in such big places and I don’t think our team did. It’s surprising to see how well we matched up against them. That’s what hurts the most. We don’t look at it as a loss. We look at it as a missed opportunity. At BYU we try to show everybody how good we are. You know how good you are and your coaches believe in you, but when it comes time for a big test like Michigan, it’s hard.
Having Taysom at Michigan:
I don’t think anyone knew he as coming. I was sitting down in the plane and came rolling in on his scooter. He brought a positive attitude. On the sideline he did a good job just sitting down with Tanner and trying to talk with him. It’s awesome to have a guy like that on your side.
How to get past the loss:
You’ve got to get on your guys. There’s no more just going half speed. We showed what happens when we don’t execute and it’s hard. We, as seniors, don’t want to be remembered for losing, especially against teams like Michigan and UCLA, teams we could have beat. Our job is to elevate those younger guys and have them help the team and move them forward.
Micah Hannemann, DB, So.
On Michigan’s physicality:
They’re definitely one of the most physical teams we’ve played. Every team we’ve been playing for the past month has been physical. It’s just starting to take a toll on our bodies.
On Bronco’s message on the loss:
There was a lot of disappointment in the way that we didn’t communicate and execute mentally. We tackled better this game, but we messed up a lot in our communication.
On the team mentality:
There was a lot of regret on missing some of the assignment areas, but then there was a lot of pump-up, like ‘Let’s go! Let’s not have that game define us.’ At the end of the morning, it was a positive experience for us and helped up look forward to winning the rest of the season.