Bronco: "It Should Be A Great Game"

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Bronco Mendenhall met the media for the final time during the regular season this morning at Legends Grille, and said of the upcoming game with Utah: "It'll be fun," adding that it should be a time to "celebrate" football in the state.


Mendenhall lauded the Utah program's "consistency" under Kyle Whittingham, saying the Utes are improving year by year, play hard and execute well, likening Utah's accomplishments and program development to the current situation at BYU.


Relative to controlling emotions in the Utah game, Mendenhall said it "will come down to execution, as it always does." He says he doesn't notice emotion "after the first couple of plays."


Bronco said "I really don't" think there's extra pressure on BYU, playing with a senior quarterback at home. He noted that "if I had my choice, I'd rather have a senior quarterback than a freshman on any team I coach."


Referencing Utah's three turnover-free games in the four most recent meetings, Bronco called the giveaway/takeaway factor "a huge element" in Saturday's meeting. He said he hopes his team looks at the game as an "opportunity to hang onto (the football), rather than feeling that they have to hold onto it."


Mendenhall called the win over Air Force the "most fun I've had for a long time, and I think our players would probably say the same." Asked about the animation of the coaches and players on the sidelines, the coach said players can feed off that, "if it's sincere, and not orchestrated."


Bronco pronounced Harvey Unga's status "advanced" from where it was at this point last week. He said he hopes Unga (sprained ankle) should be able to go at least three and a half quarters versus, but "hopefully a full game" versus Utah. No other injuries have been reported.


The coach said he's impressed with how Eddie Wide has stepped in for Matt Asiata, calling it a "positive thing" for Utah's program.


He says after a number of years in the midst of the rivalry, he "knows a lot more what to expect now; how crazy neighbors, friends, ward members, anyone can be." He says he has now "come to expect it, (and it gives) me an easier chance to smile" about it.


Referring to the "unfair tactics" penalty against BYU in the Air Force game, Bronco said he will submit that call to the league offices today, and should hear back about the call as soon as tomorrow. The coach said he has now seen the memo from which the referee based his call, but said "I still don't understand" what rule is being violated, adding that it "might be my mistake, not theirs."


As always, you can hear all of Coach Mendenhall's podium remarks by clicking on his audio link in the "Cougar Cuts" box to the upper right, as well as group interviews with Dennis Pitta, Jan Jorgensen and Matt Bauman.


The following news came out of the MWC offices this morning:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Max Hall (BYU), Joe Dale (Utah) and James Aho (New Mexico) are Mountain West Conference Players of the Week for games through Nov. 21. Hall earns Offensive Player of the Week honors, while Dale garners the Defensive Player award and Aho receives Special Teams recognition. This marks the fifth player of the week honor for Hall this season (ninth career) and third career accolade for Aho, while Dale picks up his first.



Senior, Quarterback, Mesa, Ariz./Arizona State

Senior quarterback Max Hall passed for a season-high 377 yards and season-best five touchdowns to lead No. 18 BYU to a 38-21 victory over Air Force. The Mesa, Ariz., native completed 33-of-45 attempts to help the Cougars score 38 points against a Falcon squad that was surrendering only 13.3 points per game this season and ranked as the nation's top-rated pass defense (127.9 ypg) entering the contest.


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