Six days after beating Houston in a first-ever meeting with that school, BYU welcomes Boise State to Provo on Friday, with the Cougars seeking a first-ever win over the visitors from Idaho.
The Broncos have won the first three meetings in a series that has stretched over 10 years, with Boise State walking away with a 2003 blowout at LaVell Edwards Stadium, then capturing blue-turf nail-biters in 2004 and 2012.
Last year's game featured BYU blanking the Boise State offense, yet the Broncos earned a 7-6 win on the strength of an interception return for touchdown. Taysom Hill came off the bench in relief of an injured Riley Nelson and led the Cougars to their only touchdown late in the fourth quarter; a missed two-point conversion ended BYU's comeback hopes.
PROVO — There's no place like home, but for BYU, it's time to get back on the road again.
The Cougars stung the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets last Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium for a dominant 38-20 Homecoming victory. The win also concluded a five-game streak of games played within the state of Utah -- four at home (Texas, Utah, Middle Tennessee, and Georgia Tech) with a road victory over Utah State in the middle. BYU will return to the road to face the Houston Cougars this Saturday at Reliant Stadium, the home of the NFL's Houston Texans.
Even though Georgia Tech's triple-option attack contrasts from most offenses BYU will face this season, head coach Bronco Mendenhall said at his weekly "BYU Football with Coach Mendenhall" radio show tonight that it was still a strong victory that will benefit the team this week and throughout the season.
PROVO — Kyle Van Noy came into the 2013 BYU football season with loads of hype, a preseason All-American status, and having passed on a nearly assured first-round NFL draft potential.
Halfway into the year, Van Noy has lived up to the hype with BYU's defense, with 40 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, four sacks, 10 quarterback hurries and one interception — a pick-six on the first play of the game at Utah State.
But what's most important to the senior from Reno, Nev., is that his fellow linebackers have risen to the same level, having scored defensive touchdowns in three straight games.
A little more than five weeks after a second surgery to remove cancerous tissue, BYU Basketball head coach Dave Rose says "I feel good...I feel better every day."
"Each week," said Rose after a late-afternoon practice at the Marriott Center on Wednesday, "I can tell that things are better."
"I'm kind of just concentrating on this team, and the team itself--you can really tell that they're young."
PROVO — Cody Hoffman is one catch away from becoming BYU's all-time leader in career receptions. Currently, Cody is tied with Dennis Pitta with 221 catches; and based on the fact that Hoffman has caught at least one pass in 36 consecutive games, the record should be his sometime Saturday afternoon.
"It would mean a lot," Hoffman said, when asked what the record would mean to him. "I know there's been a lot of good receivers here and a lot of great players overall; to break the record would be a great feeling."
Guy Holliday, BYU's receivers coach has been impressed with Hoffman since he joined the staff during the off-season. "I haven't had one (receiver) as skilled as him," Holliday said.
After preparing for and beating a Georgia Tech team intent on running the ball and draining the clock, the BYU Cougars are this week getting ready for the opposite approach as presented by the Houston Cougars: a pass-heavy, up-tempo attack that will be more of stylistic match for their namesakes from Provo.
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall said on Monday that he "hardly remembers" the Yellow Jackets and their game plan.
"We've spent all day now defending four receivers and (a team) throwing the ball around," said Mendenhall after an early-evening practice, "and it's college football, which is one of the cool things about it--you're not facing the same offense."
BYU on Friday announced that senior linebacker Spencer Hadley has returned to practice after being cleared by the university this week to participate with the team.
The school says Hadley's playing status for Saturday's game against Georgia Tech will be determined by head coach Bronco Mendenhall.
Hadley was suspended indefinitely on Sept. 17 for a violation of team rules. The university later imposed a five-game term, noting an honor code violation.
PROVO — As the Cougars approach the halfway point of their season, Coach Bronco Mendenhall joined Greg Wrubell, Marc Lyons, and an energetic crowd in the President's Loge at LaVell Edwards Stadium Wednesday night. BYU is coming off a 31-14 victory over Utah State and looks forward to Saturday's homecoming tilt with Georgia Tech.
Coach Mendenhall assessed the Utah State game, saying, "I think we made progress. I think our team is growing and maturing. I think offensively we continue to find more and more rhythm within what we're doing."
PROVO — The tradition of Homecoming is all about greeting old friends and reliving the past, and this year's Homecoming football game is no different.
BYU welcomes familiar foe Georgia Tech to LaVell Edwards Stadium this Saturday -- a team the Cougars rolled 41-17 last season in Atlanta -- and looks to continue its tradition, spirit, and honor of stifling option attacks.
"I think we know what we're doing, and coach Mendenhall knows what he's doing, and it's from experience," said defensive coordinator Nick Howell after team practice Wednesday evening. "We put a lot of time, a ton of time, into preparing for the option, so we're all on the same page and have a good system [to defend] it."
PROVO — The BYU football team reaches the midway point of the 2013 season on Saturday, with the Cougars' riding high on optimism and feeling like they've got a little bit more figured out.
A 2-0 win streak — the first of the year — will do that to anyone. But so, too, will finally being able to look at game film and fix the chinks in the armor that BYU's offense developed over the first few games.
"We really went back, saw where we were successful in previous games, and we stuck with those things," sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill said on Tuesday. "We built off the good, and threw out the ones we weren't successful with."
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