PROVO, Utah - BYU continues the 2015 season with a matchup against the Missouri Tigers at Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs in Kansas City, Missouri on Saturday. Kick time is set for 6:30 CT and the game will be televised on the SEC Network.
The Cougars (7-2) defeated San Jose State last week. Missouri (4-5, 1-5 SEC) dropped a 31-13 contest to Mississippi State on Thursday of last week.
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 4:30 p.m. CT.
BYUtv will provide pregame and postgame coverage, with Countdown to Kickoff starting at 5:30 p.m. CT. Postgame coverage runs for half an hour after the game.
BYU (7-2) vs. Missouri (4-5, 1-5)
Saturday, Nov. 14
Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. CT
Kansas City, Missouri
LAST MEETING. BYU is taking on Missouri for the second time in program history. The first matchup was in 1983 at the Holiday Bowl. Down 17-14 to the Tigers with just 23 seconds remaining, quarterback Steve Young handed off to running back Eddie Stinnett who then passed back to an open Young for the winning touchdown. Young passed for one touchdown, ran for one and caught another to earn Holiday Bowl MVP honors in the 21-17 win.
SEC GAMES. BYU is 5-4 against the SEC as currently constituted. The Cougars have wins over Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Missouri. Texas A&M and Missouri were not members of the SEC at the time of their previous matchups however.
NEUTRAL SITE GAMES. Under Bronco Mendenhall, BYU is 7-5 in neutral site games, including 10 bowl games. BYU is 1-1 in regular-season neutral site games under Mendenhall. In 2009, BYU defeated No. 3 Oklahoma 14-13 at then Cowboys Stadium (AT&T Stadium) and fell 38-28 to TCU in the same venue in 2011.
PLAYING FRESHMEN. BYU has played 28 freshmen this season (16 true, 12 redshirts), tied for the third-most in the country. Only Rice (31) and TCU (30) have played more freshmen than the Cougars.
A lot of unique circumstances happened this weekend, so I've put a lot of thought into what I would say this morning. Uncharacteristically, I have a statement to read regarding our upcoming game with Missouri, then we can talk about our San Jose State game and answer any questions:
'I think that Missouri has been dealing with some important but also difficult issues. We're grateful that they have been able to reach the beginning of a resolution. We look forward to preparing for the game at Arrowhead Stadium. It's a unique opportunity for our football team to play against a great program in a storied venue.'
As of right now, the game will be played. That doesn't mean the other issues that they're dealing with go away instantly. My hope is that they can find a resolution that can be effective for all parties.
Regarding San Jose State:
I thought our team showed resiliency and toughness, just like they have all year. They found a way to win. I was really impressed with the veteran coaching staff of San Jose. Their defense played well and they had a nice plan against us, especially with eliminating our run game. Their offensive coordinator gave us a lot of different looks, which I thought we handled well. They also had the field position advantage, and they did a nice job on some of their returns early in the game. Ultimately, we executed one more play and played a little bit better for longer than they did. It was a really good win in a tough situation and a unique circumstance. I'm anxious to move forward, and there's a lot more to play for with a team that I really like coaching.
How would you handle the situation if you were Gary Pinkel?
I have no idea how to even begin to answer that. There's way too many things that I don't know to even comment, other than I know him and I respect him and I believe he's doing his best. The success he has at Missouri doesn't come easy. I think he's doing a really nice job with the team he currently has and making the best out of a unique situation, including their quarterback situation and a really tough defense. All their games are tight.
â€‹Dealing with the uncertainty of the game:
It's really not been that volatile as you would think in relation to us as a team. Personally, I've just been trying to educate myself as to what's happening there and why it's been happening. I've been trying to get a chronological order is possible of the events that have happened there. Football teams are pretty routine orientated, so today our routine was the same. There's so much to focus on within our own program, that we haven't had the opportunity to move forward until now. I had a meeting today with the players, which is normal, to be cautious of what they say, and let me and the players speaking today speak for the program. A lack of education of all the issues can be dangerous.
Is it nice to have this big game for November coming up?
â€‹It is. We've worked hard throughout Independence to put together a compelling season-long schedule. Based on the year, it can play out like that, or it can't. That's our intent and I think everyone has seen that. To play an SEC opponent on the SEC Network in Arrowhead Stadium with a great coach and a program like Missouri is a great thing for our program. I think we're making progress in terms of strength of schedule.
Tejan Koroma is back for certain, and from what I have been told, and Ryker Matthews should be back again. He played about 30 plays against San Jose, so he'll be back. It also appears that whatever questionable means, that's what Ului Lapuaho and Kyle Johnson have their status listed as. I'm ready to have both of them play.
Injuries from San Jose:
Terenn Houk suffered a concussion during the game. He'll have to go through the normal concussion protocol, which the length of time that requires is based on his progress. We'll just have to wait and see.
On the situation in Missouri:
I'm sure I saw what everyone saw, just the general stuff that is put out on Twitter and the media. But, there are other details that we we don't know about. We're not too concerned about it. Like Coach Mendenhall said, we're going to focus on what we can control. They're obviously taking on some important issues. We don't know the whole story and what exactly is going on, but it's up to us to focus on what we can control. I'm glad that we have a football game on Saturday. Obviously, we want to play. We just have to focus on our game.
Improvements from the film from San Jose:
I think we need to be able to put together drives. Our first couple of drives were great. We marched down the field and put points on the board. From there, we got in a little bit of a rut. We had a few three-and-outs and we weren't able to finish drives the way we wanted to. I think it's about being more consistent. We started well, and we need to continue that throughout the game and get into a rhythm.
They're a tough, physical team, just like the majority of the SEC teams. They have big, strong, athletic guys. They'll create a good matchup on defense with some athletic defensive backs. The defensive linemen are big and tough, which will test us up front. It's going to be another fun challenge and another fun game for us.
On playing at Arrowhead Stadium:
I've never been to an NFL stadium, so this will the first time for me. But once you start playing the game, you don't really notice it. Just like the Rose Bowl, you forget about where you are. It's the same 100 yards and field-goal width wherever you go. Once you start playing, it's just football.
Better prepared for Missouri after the games this season?
â€‹Definitely. I think that as the season goes, we're always learning and changing and improving for the game ahead. We're both ready to play, and we've played nine games now. It's going to be a chance for us to show what we've done so far and who we are as a team.
RB Adam Hiné | Video Link
What do you think about the power of football?
I think it's really interesting. I still don't know the details of the story. I know that [Missouri President] stepped back. I read the statement of what he said. You know he said that he loves Missouri and that he's doing it for the student body and for everyone. I really respected that. Like I said, I didn't know too many of the details, but I respected that statement.
Balance between desire to want to play and importance of understanding what students at Missouri are going through:
From my viewpoint, discrimination–I think that's kinda where your question is--it's everywhere. Black, white, whatever religion you are, if you've got a disability--whatever it is, you're going to face it. Where I stand is with anyone who's different, which is, we can look at ourselves and realize that we're all different in a way. I think that it's good when people who are different and are discriminated for their differences, push for a change. Being different myself, like everyone else, it's cool to see a change. It's cool to see people group together in a group and be able to push for something that's good.
Return in San Jose:
It was good. I was still a little "iffy." It stinks. Last year I had a low ankle sprain, this year I have a high ankle sprain. It's different. I try to go out, but it still hurts. I'm excited for the progress I've been making to be able to suit up and play a little bit at San Jose. I was excited for that and I'm excited to get even better this week and suit up and play a lot more this weekend.
Playing in an NFL stadium:
It's awesome. Last year we played at some sweet venues. The year before last we played Houston and we played in an NFL stadium. We know Missouri has a huge fan base, and we have a pretty big fan base out there too. It's special to be in an NFL stadium, but at the same time our main focus is to scheme well and play the game we've been practicing all week and to execute.
How they'll match Missouri's emotion:
I assume there'll be a lot of emotion. Like any rival against Utah or Utah State, there's a lot of emotion. The way we match that is by being aggressive, being assignment-sound, not doing anything extra and doing what we need to do and playing hard. That's how we're going to play this weekend. I don't' think we're going to play too much different than what we planned on playing. We'll definitely match their aggression and their spirit.
Putting football in perspective:
Coach Mendenhall always talks about how football is more than us. It does put things into perspective. Before every away game we do a fireside and we touch on spiritual matters. It's so cool to put things into perspective. People come and travel a long way not even for the game, but for the fireside to see and talk with us. It's cool to hear people's stories saying, 'I went to that fireside and I wanted to change my life, I wanted to be a better football player or a better Christian.' It's cool to put into perspective, football is more than just going out and playing the game. It's making a difference in other people's lives especially by our conduct on and off the field. It speaks louder than just being on the field.
How are you feeling after this weekend?
For us, we know there’s going to be a game so we’re just getting prepared. We’ll go practice, work on our craft and get better so we can execute game time.
Can you match Missouri’s emotion?
There’s going to be a lot of emotion, and when there’s a lot of emotion I think the team – we raise our level of intensity and aggressiveness and really just play harder. That’s what we want to come out and do.
On playing at Arrowhead:
It’s awesome. It’s always fun to play in NFL stadiums. It’s just really exciting – every time that we’ve been in an NFL stadium – you know, when you go in there you just get excited and you want to play your best.
On defense last week:
Huge step in assignments and consistency. Going forward we want to be able to cause more turnovers, get the offense in better situations and continue to be more assignment-sound and raise that as well – you know, cause more turnovers. That’ll be a huge thing going forward.
On Travis coming back:
I love having Travis back because teams really have to prepare for him. If you single block him, he’s going to blow the guy up. He definitely demands a double-team.
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