Cougars host UMass in final home game
PROVO, Utah – BYU football hosts UMass in the final home game of the season on Saturday at 1 p.m. MST at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The game will be televised nationally on BYUtv and ESPN3, as well as the BYUtv and WatchESPN apps.
It's Senior Day at LaVell Edwards Stadium and BYU is expected to honor 20 seniors from this year's team before the game.
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 11:00 a.m. MST.
BYUtv will also provide pregame and postgame coverage with Countdown to Kickoff starting at 12:00 p.m. MST. Postgame coverage runs for half an hour or more after the game depending on the timing of the game.
BYU (3-8) vs. UMass (3-7)
Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. MST
LaVell Edwards Stadium (63,470)
SERIES NOTES. BYU and UMass are playing for the second time. Last year, the Minutemen visited Provo and the Cougars won 51-9. KJ Hall ran for 101 yards and one touchdown and BYU forced four turnovers in the game.
INDEPENDENT TEAMS. This game features two FBS independent teams. UMass joined the FBS in 2012 and has been playing as an independent since 2016, while BYU played its first independent season in 2011. The Minutemen have gone 4-16 as an independent team while the Cougars are 55-34. BYU has faced fellow independent teams UMass and Notre Dame but has not matched up with Army yet. The Cougars will visit UMass next season at Gillette Stadium on November 10, 2018, home of the New England Patriots.
NOVEMBER GAMES. BYU is 32-7 since 2007 in the month of November, and a perfect 18-0 at home. The Cougars have not lost a home November game since a 41-34 overtime loss to Utah in 2005.
INJURY BUG. BYU has had 37 different players miss significant time with an injury this season. Of those 37, 25 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 had a good weekend — I’m proud of our guys. Our coaches worked extremely hard for this win. The players did a great job prepping for this game. After watching film, it confirms everything we saw. Not everything was perfect — we still have corrections to make — but it was a pretty clean game without a lot of mental mistakes.
We were committed to run the ball and Squally (Canada) did a great job. Opening the game, we had Joe (Critchlow) throw quick throws to ease him into the game. Then he got brave and started feeling the tempo of the game, and he took off. Ty (Detmer) did a great job preparing him for this moment. For a guy who hasn’t a lot of experience, it was nice to have him perform well. Joe was effective on offense, and I would have taken 31 points for this game in a heartbeat.
Quarterback Joe Critchlow
Joe Critchlow did well and played a good game. It wasn’t perfect, and there were a couple errors I can think of, but other than that, he protected the ball and threw the ball where only our receivers could catch it. For a guy who has no experience, especially starting, I was really impressed with his ability to run the game. It looked like he was having a great time. It’s hard to think that just a few months ago he had a nametag on as a missionary.
Status of Beau Hoge
Beau Hoge is out for the season and will not be returning this year. It will be Joe Critchlow, Kody Wilstead and Koy Detmer. That is the depth chart there.
The senior class
I love the seniors. Look at guys like Fred Warner, who is a four-year starter, and Tejan Koroma — those guys have played a lot of ball for BYU. It is their last time in the home stadium in front of the fans. They feed off the fans, and the seniors are excited to play for them.
There are a lot of guys who’ve played a lot of football and this is their last game in LaVell Edwards Stadium. We want to get a win for our seniors and make it a special week for them.
Senior linebacker Fred Warner
Defense against UNLV
I thought we did pretty well in the run game. We gave up a couple of long runs. If we didn't give those up, I think we would've held them to under 100 yards. We gave up some of those pass plays. If we just made plays on those we would've been able to keep the score down.
About his interception
It was long overdue. I hadn’t had one this season until that game. That kind of made up for me starting off pretty slow during the game just trying to play through this injury right now. It felt good to finally get the ball in my hands.
Talking to Joe Critchlow before the game
I just let him know that I'm there for him no matter what. And that's just how you've got to be there for your guys. I had confidence in him. We'd seen what he could do out there on the practice field. I didn't know he would perform that well. I thought he did really well.
Tuni (Kanuch) is one of those guys who hasn't gotten a lot of recognition for the job he's done. He's a beast in the trenches just like Tejan (Koroma).
Looking back as a senior
It's been a long journey and it’s been a good one. There have been some highs and some lows, but you can't enjoy the good times unless you face some adversity. You never think you're going to have a coaching change and we did. You never think that we'll have the season that we've had this year but we did, and I think that we're making the most of it though. We're coming out every week and we're still playing hard. I wouldn't take it back for anything.
Senior offensive lineman Tuni Kanuch
Today’s practice after a win
It was good. We looked at the film fast and then moved on to UMass because we do have a game this week and its senior night. You can’t overlook UMass. They played Mississippi State really well, hit them really hard and had a chance to win. We are already looking towards our next game.
How fun was the UNLV game for the offensive line?
It was great. We love running the ball. I think Squally (Canada) ran really hard. Squally was the man that night. We had a lot of fun after, finally getting a win and felt good about each other and how we played.
Importance of getting pass completions early on from Joe
It gives us a lot of confidence in Joe himself. He is a freshman trying to prove himself and do what he can. He sat in the pocket with confidence and great poise. People were coming in there to hit him and he was taking those shots. He sat in there, took the hits and threw great passes. I think that was great for not only the run game, but for him and us to have confidence in him. He can have confidence in himself that getting hit is not that bad, we have pads and that he can throw the ball and that people are going to catch it.
Difference in Joe since the victory
He’s trying to have fun. We are all trying to have fun and enjoy the game. At the end of the day, it is a game. We love football and we don’t like to lose. As linemen, seeing Joe come in with that kind of confidence and knowing that he is going to sit in the pocket, and he’s not going run away from those hits gives us a lot of confidence. If we block as long as we can, no matter what, in time he’s going get us in the end zone.
Final home game on Saturday
It’s going to be bittersweet. It’s an emotional game for all of us seniors. We have been here for a long time. We love BYU, we love our teams and our coaches. It’s going to be that last time for us to be in that stadium. The stadium is sacred to us. We are going to miss it and we are going to miss being able to represent BYU. There will probably some tears and then we are going to go for a win because we have pride in ourselves. No one likes to lose, no matter how the season has gone. We hate losing and we don’t want to lose. We want to win at home for each other on senior night.
Senior defensive back Micah Hannemann
Feeling in the locker room and during practice
There are only two games left and it’s the senior game this week. This is my last home game. Monday is that day that we watch film from the last game, go over corrections and then start for this week. It’s always a better feeling on Monday when we come in with a win. We haven’t had those feelings on Mondays a lot this year so it’s always good and we are grateful.
What does playing at LaVell Edwards stadium mean to you
It’s an awesome experience. When I was younger, I went to LaVell Edwards Stadium and saw people play and now it’s my last game. LaVell Edwards Stadium is my favorite place to play and we have great fans. Hopefully, we get a good turnout for our last home game.
Of the 3 wins where does the UNLV game rank as a complete game
I feel like it’s hard to say complete game but overall I think that was our most all-around team effort win with our offense, with our running game, our run-stop game and we got some turnovers on defense which is good. The feeling throughout the whole game was a good feeling and to me that makes a complete game. There are going to be some things that you mess up but overall it felt smooth and exciting on the sidelines and huddle.
What will the seniors be remember by?
There are a lot of guys that just love the game. We are always happy to be there every practice, every workout. We are doing the thing that we love to do. Hopefully, we can go out as the team that had a crappy season but ended strong and still fighting every single game. It’s easy to get relaxed after you’ve lost a lot of games, so I think it will mean a lot to win these last couple of games.