Kenny Cox | Posted: 17 Sep 2018 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

No. 25 BYU returns home to host McNeese State on Saturday

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PROVO, Utah – The No. 25 BYU football team returns to LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday to take on McNeese State at 4 p.m. MDT. The game will be televised on BYUtv and ESPN3.

Live radio coverage can be found on the BYU Sports Network two hours prior to kickoff with Greg Wrubell, which will be broadcast on BYU Radio Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM HD2, KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM,, and on the BYU Cougars app, BYU Radio app and KSL app.  

BYUtv will provide pregame and postgame coverage with Countdown to Kickoff starting 3 p.m. MDT. Postgame coverage runs for half an hour or more after the game depending on the timing of the game.

Fans can get $10 off any ticket for this week's game against McNeese State by entering the promo code "TUESDAY" Purchase tickets HERE.

McNeese State (3-0) at No. 25 BYU (2-1)
Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018
Kickoff: 4 p.m. MDT
Provo, Utah
LaVell Edwards Stadium (63,470)

BYU Game Notes
McNeese Notes

MCNEESE. The Cowboys are one of the premier programs of the FCS and are currently ranked No. 9 in the STATS media poll and No. 10 in the AFCA coaches poll. The Cowboys have won 19 conference championships and have had 16 FCS playoff appearances. McNeese is celebrating its 75th year of football in 2018. The Cowboys have an overall record of 498-286-23 and have put together 13 consecutive winning seasons entering this year. 

POWER 5 TO OPEN THE SEASON. BYU, Ohio State and UTSA are the only teams to open the season with their first three games against Power 5 opponents. The Cougars are one of just nine teams to win two games against Power 5 opponents in the first three games. BYU and Duke are the only two teams to win two Power 5 games on the road in the first three weeks of the season. 

ALMA MATER COACHES. Both head coaches in the matchup are coaching at their respective alma mater. Lance Guidry played defensive back for the Cowboys from 1990-93, while Kalani Sitake was a fullback at BYU in 1994, 97-2000. 

BYU AGAINST THE FCS. BYU has gone 11-0 in the last 30 years against programs from the Football Championship Subdivision, including a 2-0 mark under Kalani Sitake. 

GRIMES NAMED ATHLON SPORTS COORDINATOR OF THE WEEK. BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes was named Athlon Sports Coordinator of the Week after the BYU's upset of the Badgers. Grimes put together an offensive game plan to match up with the physical Wisconsin front and outgained the Badgers at their own game, averaging 6.8 yards per rush to 4.7 on just 28 carries. 

TAKITAKI NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK. Sione Takitaki was selected as College Sports Madness National Player of the Week. Takitaki led BYU with 13 tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack and was the defensive leader in BYU's win. Squally Canada also earned the Independent Offensive Player of the Week honor as he ran for 118 yards and two touchdowns on just 11 carries against Wisconsin.

BOUNCE BACK LIKE LAVELL. Head coach Kalani Sitake and the Cougars are hoping to bounce back in 2018 similar to how LaVell Edwards and company did after his second season at the helm of the program. Edwards' second season (1973) was his only losing season of his 29-year career as the head coach. In season three of Edwards' tenure, the 1974 squad turned around from 5-6 the year before to 7-4-1, a WAC championship and a Fiesta Bowl appearance – the first bowl appearance in program history. BYU looks to follow in the hall of famers' footsteps. 

The following quotes are from Monday's media availability. 

Head coach Kalani Sitake

On what he learned from Wisconsin
"Obviously the coaching takes over and you have to look at the things we could have done better. There were a lot of mistakes but we were able to overcome them. We probably could have done better as a coaching staff and has a team. Defensively we wore down a little bit and they started dripping off tackles. It was a physical game. We were able to rotate guys and for the most part I thought they finished the game strong. We’re talking about our substitution packages to see how we can keep our guys fresh." 

"For defense, we had a lot of young freshman in the game. Looking offensively, I saw them sustaining drives, getting more plays and running the clock. If we get chunk plays like we did in the run game and opportunities that we had out there, we just have to convert on them. I was really pleased with no turnovers in this game. The energy was great and we need to do that again this week." 

On the team's focus during road games
"I was really happy and I think this game was different than the other two. We were more relaxed and that happened with the week of preparation. The guys worked really hard in the week but we weren’t really focused on the score as much as making sure that we were executing. We had the opportunity to trust each other. I think they were just really excited to play the game and felt comfortable with the preparation. I give a lot of credit to the coaches getting them ready for this game. I felt like we were prepared and focused on trying to have a good time and it worked out. That’s how we have to play. We have to play a little loose like we have nothing to lose. That’s the same approach for this week. We have a little bit of a different dynamic but I like the preparation and the game plans."

On what is making the difference for the team from last year
"You’d have to ask the guys. Those guys are doing everything the right way and I’m just proud of them. We’ve got great leaders that are taking over and good competition, so it’s hard to answer that question in one phrase. The culture of the team is taking form and the players believe. We talked about developing a strong belief in what we’re doing and how we play the game and we’re really pleased with the way the guys are doing it. It’s just stuff that they’ve learned in their homes so all we’re doing is continuing them on the path of what they’ve learned at home and applying it to the football field and being a student-athlete at BYU."

Defensive lineman Corbin Kaufusi
On victory over Wisconsin
It was a great weekend. There’s a lot of hype and then you get to come home and see your family and it’s back to the grind. You don’t want to say we’ve made it. It’s nice to show people what we’ve been doing in the offseason and all the changes we’ve had. It’s huge for our confidence of course. That’s one of the biggest things you can get from a big win like that is that you know can hang with the big boys. It’s huge for us but at the same time we have to keep rolling."

On difference in team from last year
"Everything has changed. The biggest thing is our mentality. The culture of the team is completely different and that’s probably the biggest thing for us. Guys are starting to take it upon themselves that we have to do more. As players we had to put it on us to get in extra work. We can’t be negative all the time. We can’t let things get us down. The biggest thing is how tough we can be. Everyone is tough, football is a tough sport, but it’s coming back from last season and translating that into your work ethic."

On facing McNeese State this week
"I used to hear a lot about trap games. You come in and you beat a big team like Wisconsin and then it’s a trap game if a play a smaller school next. We took the target off Wisconsin and now the target is on us. We believe that McNeese is going to be coming full speed after us. We have to be on top of our game this week."

Offensive lineman Austin Hoyt
On what it was like playing a physical defense
"t was awesome, it was hot. I’d come to the sideline and I couldn’t get enough water in me, but it was great. It was something that we were working up to the whole week. We were excited to go in and we knew that they’re a physical defense. We knew that we had to play physical so we went out and had a great game."

On validation from the wins against Arizona and Wisconsin
I think it definitely does. Our hard work in our offseason during spring ball and summer workout outs is culminating. Even more importantly, our week-by-week work is really what validates us the most going into games. When we have a good week at practice, we feel confident and ready to go into that game. It’s been a long road, but I think it’s all just leading up to games like this when we can come together and play well."

On the offense being the heart and soul of the team
"We try to be. I think something that our coached tell us is they want the rest of the team to move forward and play physical. Coach Sitake had a meeting with us this last week with the offensive and defensive lines, saying the culture of toughness and physicality starts with us."

Defensive back Gavin Fowler
On being part of game-winning field goal
Our coaches have a lot of trust in our field goal unit, but especially in Skyler and his leg strength. He’s worked really hard to be prepared for moments like that. When we knew we were getting towards scoring position we got ready and went out there and executed it the way we’ve done it in practice hundreds of times. It’s high pressure and a big moment for the game, but for the whole field goal unit it was just doing what we practice every day. Snapping is not an easy thing, so you just get used to handling what you can and getting it down in position for the kicker to make a play."

On freshman kicker Skyler Southam
Before the first kick against Wisconsin I told him it was just like practice. He ended up missing it, and that happens, but I pulled him over on the sideline and told him not to worry about it. He came back and he was able to make a huge one for us, and it ended up being the difference. He’s a pretty mentally tough kid. A lot of guys would get discouraged and come over and hang their head, but he didn’t do that. He kept his head up and believed that he would make the next one. Having the belief of the whole unit behind him gives him the confidence to go out and forget about any mistakes and look forward to the next one."

On victory over Wisconsin
It was really special. To go into a hostile environment like that against a really good team and to be able to compete and come out on top is always fun. We feel like we can compete with anybody. It’s really fun to see the program moving in a good direction. For me it’s not so much about personal achievements but seeing the whole team, the whole program, getting better and competing at the highest level."

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