BYU football preps for Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl
PROVO, Utah – BYU football heads to Las Vegas Tuesday, Dec.15 to prep for the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl against Utah, which is set to kick off Saturday, Dec. 19, at 12:30 p.m. PST.
The game will be broadcast nationally on ABC with a live radio broadcast also available on the Cougar IMG Sports Network via byucougars.com, KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM and the BYU Cougars app. Pregame radio coverage starts at 10:30 a.m. PST.
BYUtv's coverage of the game launches with Countdown to Kickoff at 11:30 a.m. PST on BYUtv and byutv.org. A postgame show begins after the conclusion of the game.
BYU (9-3) vs. Utah (9-3, 6-3 Pac-12)
Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015 at 12:30 p.m. PST
Sam Boyd Stadium
Press Conference for Las Vegas Bowl | Video Link
WAKING UP IN VEGAS. BYU is no stranger to playing bowl games in Las Vegas. From 2005-09, the Cougars went to five consecutive Las Vegas Bowls, going 3-2 over that span. With a sixth appearance in Las Vegas, it trails only BYU’s 11 Holiday Bowls as the Cougars’ favorite bowl destination. BYU has defeated Oregon, UCLA and Oregon State in Vegas, with the last victory coming in the most recent trip to the game in 2009 over the 18th-ranked Beavers.
#100WINS. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall is sitting on 99 career wins. With a win, Mendenhall will finish his Cougar career as the second 100-game winner at BYU behind LaVell Edwards. Mendenhall would become the 17th active FBS coach to reach 100 wins and the 159th coach in history at any level of college football to reach the century mark of wins.
UNCHARTED TERRITORY. BYU and Utah have never faced off in the postseason or at a neutral site. The two rivals are meeting for the 90th time in program history. Utah leads the series 54-31-4, but since 1972 when the LaVell Edwards era began, BYU is 26-16 against the Utes. Under Mendenhall, the Cougars are 3-6 and have dropped four straight.
BYU IN BOWLS. BYU is playing in its 11th consecutive bowl game (every year under Mendenhall). BYU is one of 11 teams to play in its 11th consecutive bowl game this year and only Florida State has won more games (7) than BYU’s six games in that span.
BLUE UTES/RED COUGARS. Several members of the Utah coaching staff have spent time at BYU either as a player or member of the Cougar staff. Head coach Kyle Whittingham played linebacker for the Cougars from 1978-81. Co-offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick played receiver for BYU and was a GA. Linebackers coach Justin Ena was also a starter for BYU. On the other side, BYU linebacker Harvey Langi started his career at running back at Utah. The ast time he played in this game he was wearing red. Defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi was on the Utah coaching staff.
QUOTES | PRESS CONFERENCE VIDEO
John Saccenti, Executive Director of the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
Thanks for having us. You guys have certainly given us a nice warm welcome ever since we’ve gotten here. It’s true, absence makes the heart grow fonder. We had BYU for five consecutive years and I think we were all ready for a little bit of a break at that time, but we’ve missed you guys. BYU has been a key part in the history of our game. They’ve played a key role in our game helping us jump to the next level from those five consecutive sellouts. They’ll always hold a special place in our hearts and we’re happy to have them back in the game.
The game is sold out as many as you have heard. Once the word got out BYU was in, the phones were ringing fast and furious. Of course the Utah fans have bought up the rest of the tickets. We’re expecting a great game and we’re very excited about it. Small little fact/piece of trivia: BYU has three wins in the Las Vegas Bowl and Utah has three wins in the bowl. They are tied for the all-time lead in Las Vegas Bowl wins so someone is coming out of this as the all-time leader in wins for the Las Vegas Bowl.
As soon as we heard the news Bronco was leaving, the first phone call I made was to find out if Bronco was coaching the game. We were very relieved. You should be really proud of this guy because not very often do coaches have that much character or commitment to say we are going see this thing through and finish it out. I applaud you for doing that coach. We’re happy you’re in the game and you should be proud of this guy.
Bronco Mendenhall, BYU Head Coach
From the standpoint of this being the fifth and sixth sellout, it’s a different era for BYU football and probably for the Las Vegas Bowl with the game growing and expanding each year and gaining new attention. The growing significance of the teams and the games has been fun to watch. Who would have guessed that on a year where BYU and Utah aren’t scheduled to play, we end up playing and we end up playing in Las Vegas in front of a packed house? It’ll be two teams that worked really hard and both fighting to get their 10th win. A lot of our success this year is simply because of our player leadership. The best teams I’ve coached are always reflected in the leaders. The captains and the seniors and Mitch and Bronson as well as others have played really well and also have represented the program at a really high level that a coach really just can’t do. The two guys sitting at my left are really responsible for our success. They’ve done a really nice job keeping the team together through some unique circumstances and our team is motivated. We’re excited and we really want to win and we really want to play well for the sake of our team. I’m excited to do my part as a coach and I’m really excited to help the players on our team achieve a strong finish.
Bronson Kaufusi, Senior Defensive Lineman
We want to win. Ups and downs are all a part of college football. Anything can happen. When you step on that field everything leaves and you’re there with your teammate and you’re trying to execute at a high level and you want to do your best. In order to be your best, preparation is the biggest thing. Everyone is focused. We want to go down there and win.
Mitch Mathews, Senior Wide Receiver
This week has been something new for all of us. A coaching change is never easy. We showed up to practice today and it was very encouraging for us to see how much energy, poise, focus and excitement the team has to play and to get this last win for coach Mendenhall. Guys have questions of who’s going to be our next coach and who’s going and coming in. When we step on that practice field, that’s what shows up in the game. What we were like at practice today, how enthusiastic we were, how excited and focused we were is a sign of how excited we are for the game and how we are going to play.