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PROVO — It was no surprise to anyone when BYU trampled over Idaho at home. This weekend might not be any walk in the park, though.
BYU travels to San Jose to take on an 8-2 Spartan team that is looking to keep on pace with the likes of Louisiana Tech and Utah State in the Western Athletic Conference. Both BYU and SJSU scored more than 45 points last week, but it is their defense that is going to tell the story this weekend as BYU is ranked fourth in the nation on defense while SJSU is allowing less and less points every week on their four-game winning streak.
Head coach Mike MacIntyre is proud of his team right now, but he hopes to be even more proud if they can take down a team who is averaging 46 points a game in their last two games.
Here is what coach MacIntyre had to say about SJSU's formidable opponents.
On playing BYU on the national spotlight:“We are getting ready to play BYU. They are a very good football team and they beat us last year at their place. We are excited about it being on ESPN2 and it's a big, big football game. I would say with BYU coming to town and everything, it is one of the biggest games in, I would say, modern history of San Jose State football.
“It is a big deal that we are excited about. It kind of reminds me a little bit of Navy coming in last year about the same time of the year. BYU is bowl-eligible like we are and we are excited about playing. They have a really good quarterback, Riley Nelson. He has been beat up a little bit, but he is a good playmaker. Their defense is phenomenal. They are big, strong; they are athletic; and they do a lot of great things. It is going to be a very tough contest for us.”
On how big this game against BYU really is to SJSU:
“I think that it makes it a meaningful game at the end of November especially for our program. They are a national big name coming here to town and they haven't played here since 1968. I think that is a big deal for us and for them coming here and playing in the Bay Area. We are pumped about that. They are bowl eligible; we are bowl eligible and that is two very, very good football teams playing each other on a Saturday night on national television. For a college kid and a college head football coach it doesn't get much better than that with a meaningful game at the end of November.”
On how they plan to attack on the ground against this BYU defense:
“We'll have to run a little bit different against BYU than we did against New Mexico. They're the fourth best defense in America. They're huge up front. But we'll find ways to do it. We'll definitely try to run the football. But with their stout run defense, it'll be a little bit different running attack from us and be able to attack them up front.
We know they're good. Our kids know they're good. We just need to execute well and move the ball well. Hopefully, they haven't seen an offense like ours. They're very good, they're very tough and they're very physical. We have to hold on to the ball because they tackle well and they're big men. They're really big men.”
On the average age of BYU's players:“Remember when you were 18 and remember when you were 24? The maturity factor is so much bigger. They're older. They've been through more experiences. They have a tremendous amount of experience — I think it's a very huge advantage.”
On quarterback Riley Nelson:
“He's just a playmaker. He's a good quarterback, but he makes plays. When the pocket breaks down, he'll create. He'll run around and flip the ball late. I think they feed off of his competitive nature. I really enjoy watching him play. I really hope I don't enjoy watching him play this Saturday. He's not the traditional BYU quarterback the way I would see it, but he's a winner, he's a competitor, he's a playmaker, he's a really good quarterback.”
On running back Jamaal Williams:
“Very fast, very quick. They throw a lot of screens to him. They run a lot of speed options to him. We have to know where 21 is because he's a big playmaker in the open field for them.”
Alex Rivera is the assistant sports editor of the UVU Review. You can contact him at email@example.com or through his Twitter account @A_River_Uh.