Head Games



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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You may have noticed more than a handful of BYU helmets flying off during Saturday's opener with Arizona. If you thought it happened more times than normal, you're right.

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There were two factors at work:

#1: many of the players were wearing a new style of helmet featuring an "elongated" design--these helemts are also identified by the indentation on the sides. The "stretch" helmets aren't as snug as the regular "rounded" helmets, so they can fit a bit looser as a result.

Which brings us to...

#2: the helemts contain air bladders to snug the helmet to the head, and whether using a traditional or new helmet, the proper bladder inflation level is sometimes not determined until after game action in the opener. During fall camp, the helmets are almost never filled to the necessary level, so the opening game often finds players discovering just how tight the helmets have to be to withstand contact.

Expect fewer helmets on the ground at the Rose Bowl.

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BYU is a 7 1/2 point underdog at UCLA--the same spread by which Utah is favored home to Air Force.

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Trivia time: Harvey Unga is the 5th Cougar to be named MWC Player of the Week as a freshman. Can you name the other four? Hint: none were defensive players.

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Fast Facts:

BYU's last nonconference road win over a ranked team came in 1997, at 14th ranked Arizona State. The Cougars beat the Sun Devils 13-10.

The 68 points scored by UCLA in the Cougars' last visit to the Rose Bowl in 1993 are the second most allowed in BYU Football history. Hawai'i beat BYU 72-45 in the second to last game of Gary Crowton's first season as BYU head coach (2001).

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BYU fans are said to have purchased upwards of 10,000 tickets for the UCLA game. A crowd of between 60 and 70-thousand is expected. UCLA has sold approximately 46,000 season tickets.

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With UCLA senior corner Rodney Van recovering from a sprained ankle, the L.A.Daily News reports it's likely sophomore Alterraun Verner will get the start. Van did not practice Tuesday or Wednesday, and the News reports Defensive Coordinator DeWayne Walker (former BYU secondary coach) does not start players who do not practice by mid-week.

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Trivia answer: Matt Payne, Curtis Brown, Matt Berry, and Daniel Coats.

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