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SALT LAKE CITY — In local sports, the University of Utah football team looks to potentially play in a Pac-12 title game while BYU plays with the idea of joining the Big East. College basketball is up and going, and all the local teams look to improve.
Deseret News sports writer Jeff Call wrote about BYU quarterback Jake Heaps and his starting opportunity this week against New Mexico State. BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall spoke about Heaps time on the sideline, saying he may have benefited from “maybe just the perspective he's been able to glean from taking a step back for a little bit and be out of the BYU quarterback mode, which is a nice thing for a minute or two."
Call also reported that the Big East has made adding BYU a priority. The conference is looking to expand in order to keep its BSC birth by adding BYU, Boise State, Air Force and Huston to a western division.
The BYU basketball team played BYU Hawaii this week in Provo. Jeff Call wrote about Brandon Davis's dominance in the game: “He hit his first six shots from the floor and scored 14 of the Cougars' first 21 points. Davies finished with a career-high 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting to go along with nine rebounds in 28 minutes of play.”
"Brandon was terrific to start the game," said head coach Dave Rose. "Brandon knows this team needs him … It happens every year: Guys have to be assigned roles, and other players realize the role they need to play. Noah (Hartsock) and Brandon both understand that we need them to be very good early until the rest of the team comes together."
Dirk Facer of the Deseret News wrote about the Utes' running back John White IV and his chance of beating Utah’s Darrel Mack’s single season rushing mark. The junior is only 14 yards away form Mack, who is third place on Utah’s single season rushing list.
“I never thought a guy could carry that many times and still be effective. That's what big backs do. That's what NFL backs do. By the third or fourth quarter, they're wearing on you," offensive coordinator Norm Chow said. "He's not a big guy. Oh yeah, he's terrific. It's sad because Harvey (Langi) and Tauni Vakapuna deserve a little shot, too, but you can't afford to take him out of there.”
Facer also wrote about Chow and his ability to avoid the spotlight while facing three former employers this season. Chow spoke about facing his old teams, saying, "They'll never hear me mention anything about it because it's not about me, it's about these young guys."
Mike Sorensen wrote an article for the Deseret News about the Utes’ chance of playing in the Pac-12 title game.
Sorensen wrote, “The clearest way is if the Utes win their final two games and both Arizona State and UCLA lose their final two games. UCLA plays Colorado this week and USC the following week, while ASU plays Arizona and Cal, both at home.”
Sorensen went on to say, “They also would go to the title game if the Sun Devils lose both games and UCLA wins one of two and ties Utah at 5-4 because the Utes beat the Bruins head-to-head. However if ASU wins just one of its final two games, they will go to the title game ahead of Utah because they hold the tiebreaker in the records within the division and because of the win over Utah.”
Ute defensive back Conroy Black said, “That would definitely be fun, but at the end of the day we have to do what we've got to do. If it plays out, we'll be happy about it."
In basketball news, Utah traveled to Boise State and was defeated 80-59. Sorensen wrote, “The Broncos actually looked more than 21 points better than the Utes, who have practically a whole new team to work with this year.”
Sorensen went on to state, “All week, the Ute coaches had stressed getting out on (Anthony) Drmic and Drew Wiley, the Broncos' two best shooters, but the Ute defenders were consistently a step late, especially early in the game.”
The Utes look to improve in their next game as they prepare to take on Montana State at home on Saturday, Nov. 19, at 1 p.m.
The Aggies fell to Weber State in basketball this week. Kraig Williams reported in the Deseret News about the Aggies' performance and the need for improvement.
Head coach Stew Morrill spoke about the loss, saying, "If you've had a good program for a number of years, that's what you should be about. We at least showed up, and at least made somewhat of a game of it. I don't think they were ever really threatened. Any time we got it within single digits we had a dumb foul, put them on the line, turned it over. We aren't real good offensively right now, we aren't real good defensively, we don't rebound consistently, and we turn it over too much. Other than that I kind of like us. We'll get better."