Cougars head to Las Vegas for UNLV matchup
PROVO, Utah – BYU football heads to Las Vegas this week, continuing its two-game road stretch at UNLV on Friday at 7:30 p.m. PST at Sam Boyd Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.
Live radio coverage can be found on the BYU Sports Network with Greg Wrubell, which will be broadcast on BYU Radio Sirius XM 143 KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM and BYUcougars.com. It will begin at 5:30 p.m. PST.
BYUtv will provide pregame and postgame coverage with Countdown to Kickoff starting at 6:30 p.m. PST. Postgame coverage runs for half an hour or more after the game depending on the timing of the game.
BYU (2-8) vs. UNLV (4-5)
Friday, Nov. 10, 2017
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. PST
Sam Boyd Stadium (35,500)
SERIES NOTES. BYU and UNLV are playing for the 20th time. The Cougars hold a 16-3 advantage in the series and are a perfect 8-0 against the Rebels at Sam Boyd Stadium. The two schools were members of the Western Athletic Conference and Mountain West Conference from 1996 to 2010. The last time the two schools played was at LaVell Edwards Stadium in 2014. BYU beat UNLV 42-23 behind nearly 600 yards of total offense, including 325 passing yards and three touchdowns from Cougar quarterback Christian Stewart. The last time BYU played UNLV in Las Vegas, the Cougars defeated the Rebels 59-21. Current BYU graduate assistant Harvey Unga ran for 149 yards and three touchdowns.
COMMON OPPONENTS. BYU and UNLV have faced three common opponents to date in San José State, Utah State and Fresno State. The Revels went 2-1 against those three, with wins over San José State and Fresno State. The Cougars are coming off of a 20-13 loss at Fresno State. UNLV just defeated Hawaii 31-23 in Las Vegas. BYU will play at Hawaii in two weeks.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS. The Cougars are playing their third and final Friday evening matchup of the season. BYU took on Utah State and Boise State in back-to-back Friday games earlier this year. The Cougars dropped both Friday night games.
INJURY BUG. BYU has had 36 different players miss significant time with an injury this season. Of those 36, 24 have been members of the two-deep and 13 have been projected starters.
HONORING LAVELL. Legendary hall of famer and beloved head coach at BYU for 29 seasons, LaVell Edwards, passed away on Dec. 29, 2016. The always steady and humble coach will be honored in several ways throughout the season, including the team wearing a uniform patch featuring his classic stoic profile he displayed for decades on the Cougar sidelines.
The following quotes are from BYU’s post-practice media availability on Monday:
Head coach Kalani Sitake
We watched the film and we are moving on. We are trying to find a way to win the next game. We are going to try to honor the seniors as best we can the rest of the season. We’ve done a lot of growing and becoming a better program. Obviously, I’m disappointed. I’ve said that over and over again — eight times so far. We are looking forward to fixing it and getting better.
Team’s approach to the quarterback situation
We have to rally around our guys and we are looking at our quarterback situation right now with Beau (Hoge) and Joe (Critchlow) as an open competition to see who is the best one. Kody Wilstead will be in the mix too. We will see who deserves to take the first snap this weekend. That is going to be established throughout the week.
Criteria for choosing the QB
It’s the competition and who can get us in the best position to score points. It is production for us. There are some guys that haven’t really had their shot and we will see if they deserve it and how well they do leading this offense. We will see this week. We felt really comfortable with Joe and the progress he has made along the way. The same goes for Kody. He just hasn’t been able to get on the field. A lot of stuff factors into it: who is ready to be the guy, who is going to take it and that’s why they have to compete for it.
Evaluation of the pass game against Fresno State
I made a statement a while back to be aggressive. I don’t know if we had enough big plays on offense to be aggressive and same goes for defense. We didn’t create any turnovers, so we didn’t have that like we did the week before. Credit to Fresno State — they didn’t give us a lot of chances. I think they took good care of the football, very rarely have they turned the ball over recently in the games that I watched on film. But, there are other ways that we can find to be a disruptive defense. Offensively, we just didn’t have enough production, points on the board or big plays compared to the week before. I’ve said that if we are going to go down, we are going to go down swinging and I don’t think that we took enough swings.
I’ve been very thankful for the fans that we have. They have showed up to all the games, even the home games. Especially on the road, the ones that make an effort to be there. It was a late game in Fresno and we have a lot of fans there and it was great to see them. I just wish we could send them home winners. It has been nice to have our fans come and support us here at home.
The gratitude is there for our fans we just need to show it by winning games. I think that is what our fans want to see and that is what I want to see. We just need to do it together. We just need to find a way to get a win and keep our fans happy.
Sophomore defensive lineman Trajan Pili
Defensive lessons from Fresno State game
I think one of the things the defense learned was how to gain confidence. Obviously, it wasn’t the result we wanted, but as a unit itself, we are a lot stronger and have more unity. We are going to keep going forward.
Mentality is everything. We need to want to make plays and step up for the team. We are working on that big-play mentality.
From the defensive line, we need to crush the pocket and have the quarterback feel those walls closing in with not a lot of time. We need to do that, especially with the mobile quarterback this week.
Las Vegas is my hometown, so all of my family and friends will be there. I know a lot of the players and the head coach. It will be a fun game to see old faces.
We have to be tough up front because they run the ball so much. We want them to pass, and it all starts up front. It’s up to us.
Sophomore wide receiver Micah Simon
UNLV game preparation
It’s a short week, so today was a different type of Monday practice. We are still banged up from the game, but we have to get back to work. We have fewer days to prepare, but we are ready to get back to it.
Wide receivers getting more separation
I think the receivers are getting better each and every game. We have to come down with the ball each time and not just be open. We’ve been putting a big emphasis on coming down with the 50/50 balls that are in the air and making a play.
Tanner Mangum’s season-ending injury
It’s hard seeing Tanner out after working so hard to come back after the first injury. I’m praying for him and I feel for him. But we have to have ‘next man up’ mentality. Beau (Hoge) and Joe (Critchlow) will carry us through as we lean on each other, and we’ll be fine.
Backup quarterback Beau Hoge
Beau has good mobility and creates a different element for the defense to worry about it. He brings that to the table, and we’ll see how we implement that into the game plan.
Senior defensive lineman Handsome Tanielu
We are seeing some of the same schemes as Fresno State, just a little bit different. We made some adjustments on the defensive front to set ourselves up better for different situations and opportunities to make plays. For the most part, they will run the ball a lot and it will be a game for the front seven to make them one dimensional and switch over to the pass.
How you handle another loss
Weeping and crying about it is going to do nothing. Once you have watched the film, lock it away and don't look back. You can't hold it against yourself. You need to critique yourself, give yourself some coaching and evaluate it. You and the coaches go over it to see what you need to do differently to put yourself in a better position and then you try to add it to your arsenal of moves to make you better.