Having opened their 2014-15 campaign with a home win over Long Beach State, the BYU Cougar hoopsters will this week play home games on back-to-back nights before heading to Hawaii and next week's Maui Invitational.
Arkansas Little-Rock will visit the Marriott Center on Tuesday night, with Division III foe Southern Virginia providing the opposition on Wednesday night. Thursday will see the team take off for the islands, where three games in three days await next week.
BYU head coach Dave Rose says the accelerated early-season pace could pay off in the islands.
PROVO — Coming off a 42-23 win over UNLV on a cold night at LaVell Edwards Stadium BYU now sets its sights on and begins preparations for its final home game of the season this Saturday afternoon versus the Savannah State Tigers.
Despite Savannah State’s 0-11 record BYU’s players and coaches are determined to keep focus heading into this week’s matchup not only for the team’s sake, but also for the 26 seniors who will play their last home game in front of the Cougar faithful.
BYU head football coach Bronco Mendenhall explained that he doesn’t want to reminisce too much with three games still remaining on the schedule, including the bowl game in Miami, but emphasizes that the team and coaching staff does want to ensure a great finish and experiences together for the seniors.
PROVO — The BYU Cougars announced a two-game football series with the SEC’s Missouri Tigers on Thursday. The first meeting will take place at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, home of the Kansas City Chiefs, on Nov. 14, 2015. BYU will then host Mizzou in Provo on Nov. 7, 2020.
“It’s a great opportunity and challenge for our football team to play such a fine school as Missouri,” said BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe. “They are a new SEC school with a rich football tradition going back to the Big 12. It will also be exciting for our team to play at Arrowhead Stadium in a region of the country where we haven't been in awhile.”
The Cougars and Tigers have met only once before in football, when BYU beat Missouri in the 1983 Holiday Bowl.
PROVO — With the taste of a win fresh in their mouths, the Cougars will get back at it this weekend with an old Mountain West Conference foe in UNLV. At this week’s “BYU Football with Bronco Mendenhall,” coach Mendenhall said that the win in Tennessee gave his team a new outlook on the season and that they’re ready for whatever comes next.
“The attitude of the team even in the stretches where we were close, but not getting the victories, they were resilient and tough, but not much smiling going on,” Mendenhall said. “It just is more fun and it’s much more rewarding for myself as the head coach to see smiles because they’ve been working really, really hard … it just gave them the sense that this could be a really good team, and this could be a really good finish.”
Bad luck was a constant companion for the Cougars in October, starting with the loss of Taysom Hill and ending with a four-game losing streak. This week’s player guest was senior quarterback Christian Stewart, who stepped up in Hill’s stead and led the team through that difficult stretch.
The last time BYU played a basketball game that counted (v. Oregon in the NCAA tournament back in March), head coach Dave Rose had nine roster players in uniform.
Friday night, as the Cougars open the regular season with Long Beach State at the Marriott Center, Rose will have dressed and ready for action 15 players, all of whom are scholarship or scholarship-committed players.
The sudden depth is an unusual luxury for Rose, who has decided against additional trimming of the roster for the time being. With Kyle Davis sitting out the season after transferring from Utah State, and Jamal Aytes out indefinitely following ankle surgery, only freshman Jordan Chatman is projected to redshirt, giving Rose 15 guys ready to roll.
PROVO — From Taysom Hill against Utah State to Jamaal Williams at Middle Tennessee, injuries have defined the last six weeks of BYU football. The depth and youth of the team has been in the spotlight with a focus on mistakes. After a four-game losing streak, the victory at Middle Tennessee and a bye week, the Cougars are confident in their personnel and itching to get back on the field.
Quarterback Christian Stewart now has the majority of the starts for BYU, and he believes in the guys he will have on the field with him, even if they aren’t the stars everyone expected on the field. Today he spoke about the absence of Jamaal Williams
“I feel like, yeah it hurts us big time,” Stewart said. “But at the same time, we have other guys who will step up and make big plays. I’m not too concerned about the loss. Obviously I want him out there, don’t get me wrong, but I know that Algie (Brown), Paul (Lasike), Adam (Hine), Nate (Carter), those guys are gonna step up big time this week."
PROVO — As the Cougars welcomed November in Tennessee two weeks ago, all they could think about was getting a win. After what seemed to be a never-ending October full of injury and woe, BYU needed a change … and fast. The defense seemed uncharacteristically uncertain, but it found the victory it was looking for against the Blue Raiders. Tuesday, defensive players said snapping that losing streak gave them some much-needed confidence as they prepare to host UNLV on Saturday.
“I think we kind of got our groove back having a win,” said sophomore defensive back Kai Nacua. “It felt good getting a win again, so I think everyone’s refocused and they know what we need to do … and just want to do a lot better than we were.”
The Cougars face a 2-8 Rebel team with a quarterback who’s comfortable on his feet. Defensive coordinator Nick Howell says containing UNLV’s quarterback will be key to a Cougar victory on Saturday.
PROVO — After breaking a four-game losing streak, the Cougars had a week to reboot and recover during their second bye week this season. Now one game away from bowl eligibility, both players and coaches expressed one goal as they welcome UNLV this week.
“After starting off 4-0 and pretty much starting from scratch when your starting quarterback goes down, then going 0-4 after the bye week … getting into the postseason would be really great for us,” said senior offensive lineman De’Ondre Wesley. “It would build the moral of this team for everything we worked so hard for in the offseason and in fall camp. To go to a bowl game would be pretty awesome.”
With Savannah State coming to Provo in two weeks, the Cougars are all but assured of a six-win season and an appearance at the Miami Beach Bowl in December, but senior wide receiver Jordan Leslie says the team is hungry to finish out with four straight wins.
For a third straight season and the 16th time in head coach Jen Rockwood's 20 seasons as head coach, the BYU women's soccer team is bound for the NCAA tournament.
The West Coast Conference-champion Cougars on Monday were drawn into a region with 2 seed North Carolina, and will open tourney play on Saturday at Colorado--the team which knocked BYU out of last season's NCAA tournament in the second round.
"I'm really excited about it," said Rockwood of her team's automatic bid and upcoming trip to Boulder. "You work all year to get to this point, and the girls had a great season. I'm anxious to go to Colorado; they're a good team."
PROVO — After an 82-64 win in their first exhibition game of the 2014-15 season over the Colorado School of Mines, the BYU basketball team continues its preseason preparation this Saturday night hosting the Seattle Pacific Falcons.
The big news heading into this week’s game is guard Kyle Collinsworth has been cleared to play following his recovery from an ACL injury he sustained towards the end of last season.
Head coach Dave Rose is excited to have Collinsworth back in the lineup, and Rose praised Collinsworth’s efforts that have led him to a quicker recovery than many initially anticipated at the time he suffered the injury.
|Marriott Center, Provo||1/29 9:00 pm|