Following a 2-1 week that included wins over previously-undefeated Texas and previously-undefeated Utah State, and a loss to still-unbeaten (and nationally-ranked) Wichita State, the BYU hoopsters are back on the home hardwoods Tuesday night, meeting up with the 5-3 Mean Green from North Texas.
After his team's Monday practice at the Marriott Center, BYU head coach Dave Rose said he expects "a real fast-paced game" with a team that like BYU, ranks among the highest-tempo teams in the country. The Cougars are 2nd in Pomeroy adjusted tempo stats, while North Texas is 44th.
"These guys are really quick," Rose told reporters in his post-practice media session. "They play fast, and their guards are really good dribble-penetrators."
PROVO — The BYU Cougars practiced at the Marriott Center Friday afternoon before busing to Salt Lake City for Saturday's matchup with the Utah State Aggies at Energy Solutions Arena.
BYU has had quite a bit of success playing on the home court of the NBA's Utah Jazz. The Cougars have won seven-straight games played at ESA; which include victories over Utah State, San Francisco, Hawaii, Arizona, Oregon, Montana and Virginia Tech.
"We had a great game up there a few years ago with Utah State at Energy Solutions Arena," Coach Rose said. "With the experience of their team, starting four seniors, and the youth of our group and where we've been and the fact that we're coming off a loss, it should be a really exciting game. We're looking forward to it."
PROVO — After 12 quick weeks, Wednesday night marked the final "BYU Football with Coach Mendenhall" radio show of the 2013 season.
It was a season that began full of promise and opportunity -- returning stars, a new up-tempo offense, and the proclaimed toughest schedule in program history -- and as with any year, 2013 had its share of both ups and downs.
There were difficult loses at Virginia and against Utah (again), blow-out victories over Texas and Boise State, bowl qualification for the ninth-straight season, and a five-game winning streak rolling into the month of November.
PROVO — BYU and Utah State announced on Wednesday that the two schools have reached an agreement to add two additional games to its current football series.
The additional games will be played on Sept. 29, 2017 in Logan and in Provo on Oct. 5, 2018 — both games are on Friday night.
In the official release, BYU AD Tom Holmoe expressed his gratitude to the Aggies and his excitement to continue the series.
PROVO — BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall has had plenty of time to look at his team's loss at Notre Dame last week, and he liked what he saw of the Cougars' effort against the Fighting Irish in South Bend, Ind.
"I thought the team tried hard, and fell short through execution," Mendenhall said after practice Tuesday. "A few critical plays, a slow start defensively and the blocked kick at the end; I'm disappointed that we didn't make the necessary plays we needed to make."
One player who didn't disappoint was wide receiver JD Falslev. The senior team captain returned after missing two weeks with a broken hand, grabbing a touchdown pass from quarterback Taysom Hill in the 23-13 loss. The moment proved more special as a number of Falslev's family members made the trek to South Bend for the game.
PROVO — Kyle Van Noy came to BYU from Reno after a star-studded senior year at McQueen High School that saw his Lancers win the Class 4A state title in Nevada's Mackay Stadium.
After four years in Provo, the senior returns to the scene of the crime -- but the main difference isn't the football-playing Van Noy.
"I can't even get the words to say how different I am," Van Noy said after practice Monday evening. "I'm just a different person, and that's the most important thing to me; not only on the field, but off the field as well. I have a totally different perspective on life. That's a lot better, for sure."
PROVO — The BYU football team will return to the scene of last year's 17-14 loss to Notre Dame when it travels to South Bend, Ind., on Saturday.
But though the Cougars are familiar with the Irish and the environment of the storied university and region, head coach Bronco Mendenhall says they won't be in awe of the school's famed Touchdown Jesus as some might expect.
"You want occasions to rise to, and you want to see how we've grown and how we handle different situations," Mendenhall said on Tuesday's ‘BYU Football with Bronco Mendenhall.' "It's what we're looking forward to.
PROVO — With the season nearly over, the Cougars look forward to a huge road test at historic Notre Dame Stadium with the Fighting Irish Saturday. Both teams enter the contest with identical 7-3 records and with aspirations of ten win seasons.
Taysom Hill didn't get to play in last year's game and he is looking forward to the opportunity this year. "I'm looking forward to the challenge, it's a really good program, a fun atmosphere, and a tough place to play. I'm excited to showcase what we can do."
The Cougars have played four games on the road this season and feel that execution will be the key to putting everything together and coming out of South Bend with a key win. "We have a really good opportunity to make some noise on the national stage, and I think it's really good for our program. We've put ourselves in a good situation to make ourselves known and I feel like we can compete with anybody in the country. It's going to be nothing new for us. We've been on the road before, we've been in hostile environments, and we've played really good teams on the road. We just need to learn how to execute at a high level and get a win against a really good, quality team and hopefully we can put all those things together and get a win there."
Having missed consecutive games for the first time in his BYU career, guard Tyler Haws says that a lower abdominal strain he suffered against Stanford is "feeling a lot better," and will allow him to suit up against No. 21 Iowa State Wednesday night at the Marriott Center.
"I think I'm going to play," said Haws after Tuesday's practice in Provo. "I practiced today, so I'll be ready to go."
Asked if he still feels pains from the injury, Haws said "a little bit. I can still feel it, but not to where I can't go. It's feeling a lot better than it did last week."
For the eighth time, and a sixth time in South Bend, BYU and Notre Dame are set to meet on the gridiron Saturday--the second game of a contracted six-game series between the two schools.
When the deal was originally done, the Cougars and Fighting Irish were committed to play six times between 2012 and 2020. Notre Dame's recent scheduling alliance with the ACC has led to some schedule shuffling in South Bend, but not involving games with BYU.
Asked if there was any fear that the six-game series might be modified moving forward, Cougar head coach Bronco Mendenhall on Monday said "not on our part, and I trust them to keep their agreement."