Senior night against New Mexico State on Saturday
PROVO, Utah – BYU football will host New Mexico State in the final home game of the season at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday at 8:15 p.m. MST. The game will be televised live on ESPN2.
BYU will honor 25 seniors prior to the game that will be participating in their final home game.
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, BYUCougars.com/LiveRadio, BYURadio.org and on the BYU Cougars app, BYU Radio app and KSL app.
BYU (5-5) vs. New Mexico State (3-7)
Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018
Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. MST
LaVell Edwards Stadium (63,470)
THE SERIES. BYU and New Mexico State are meeting for the third time in the series. The Cougars hold a 2-0 advantage, beating the Aggies by an average score of 46.0-10.5 in the two games. The first game was in Provo in 2011 where BYU beat New Mexico State 42-7 when another freshman quarterback, Jake Heaps, tossed four touchdowns. In 2012 in Las Cruces, senior quarterback James Lark threw six touchdown passes, five of them going to Cody Hoffman for a school record in a 50-14 win. New Mexico State head coach was the offensive coordinator for the Aggies in the 2011 matchup.
SENIOR NIGHT. Prior to the game Saturday night, BYU will honor 25 seniors that will be playing in their last game at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Each player is expected to run out of the tunnel one-by-one to receive recognition for their contibutions to the program. They will be honored again at the football banquet after the season.
NOVEMBER GAMES. BYU has finished the season strong in the month of November. Since 2009, BYU is 27-8 in November. The Cougars have New Mexico State this week and Utah remaining this month.
OPPONENTS WITH A BYE WEEK. The Cougars are hosting its third team that is coming off of a bye week this season. While the Aggies had last week off, BYU also faced Utah State and Northern Illinois after the teams had an extra week of prep.
YOUNG GUNS. BYU has played 27 freshmen this season, including 17 true freshmen. There have been 11 different freshmen that have started games for the Cougars, including five true freshmen. Against Hawai'i, BYU started seven freshmen, including six on offense. Only Minnesota has started more freshmen on offense in a game (7). Freshmen have accounted for just shy of half of BYU's total scoring this year (116 of 233 total points – 49.8 percent).
A GREAT DAY FOR A FOOTBALL GAME. Marc Lyons, the long-time radio color commentator for BYU football will be honored during the game as he makes his final broadcast from LaVell Edwards Stadium. Lyons has been in the broadcast booth for 38 total seasons. His first broadcast was on Sept. 6, 1980 alongside Paul James. Lyons worked nearly two decades with James before spending the last 18 seasons with Greg Wrubell.
The following are quotes from Monday's media availability.
Head coach Kalani Sitake
On the game takeaways from UMass game
It felt like we had been getting better every week, but just didn’t get the results we wanted, so it’s just nice to keep learning and growing, especially after a win. I think there were a lot of valuable lessons for us to learn in the Boise State game and and the NIU game. It’s just nice that it paid off, even after a rough start. Going down 10-0, our guys kept believing and they rallied together. We had great leadership on the sideline and it carried over into the game. I’m really pleased with the outcome, but more importantly I’m just pleased with our leadership and how the guys are starting to really believe and grow from it.
On the development of the offense
I don’t think anybody can really understand, unless you were there, how the conditions played into the game. It did a lot to our special teams, especially the punt game. For the most part I’m looking at things like execution, assignments and how clean things were. I don’t believe we made any mistakes as far as penalties. I think our guys are playing a lot faster and they’re not thinking as much. I’m starting to become really proud of them. Obviously, I wanted to see this earlier, but I think execution is just happening a lot better. I think if all 11 guys are doing what their coach tells them and what they’re expected to do I think we’ll have more success and that paid off last week.
On the defensive side
I think Coach Tuiaki has done a good job of dialing up the pressure more and picking spots to do it. Our coaches have done a good job of teaching their personnel to execute their assignments, but these guys are making plays. We actually missed a lot of opportunities to make big plays in the weeks past and I think our guys are capitalizing on it and focusing on the fundamentals and technique of the game. Whatever we can do to keep disrupting the time of the throw I’m all about it.
On getting bowl eligible
I think you have to ask me that question Saturday night. I’m not really focused on anything else than trying to get the win. We’re just trying to focus on the task right now and that’s trying to get this win, and then we’ll figure it out. But if you’re talking about the amount of practices a team gets from being bowl-eligible, that really helps the program out. Especially when you have a lot of young guys and inexperienced players. It gives you another spring ball type of deal. For us, that’s an important part of building a program, having that extra practice time. But right now we just have to win that game and we’ll find out the rest later.
On senior night
There’s a lot of guys who played a lot of their time here and sacrificed for this program and this school. It’s just another chance for them to play. I know we’ve played a lot of young guys, but this program is really moving in a great direction because of the seniors and the leadership they’re providing and the roles they’re relishing, whether it’s on the field or as a mentor on the sideline helping young guys out. This senior class has done a really good job of overcoming adversity, whether it’s personal or to the program. They’re really trying to relish their roles and make the most of it. I’m really proud of them and I think they’ll have a lot of success in life. It’s one last opportunity to play in LaVell Edwards Stadium. I hope they all get to perform and do great things for us.
Linebacker Sione Takitaki
On his emotions going into his final game as LaVell Edwards Stadium
I'm definitely sad thinking of all the memories that I had here. There's Bronco and Sitake; just all the good memories, hanging out with the team. All my buddies here, lifelong friends that I made here. I will miss the little stuff like lifting, offseason workouts and stuff like that.
On coaches being willing to make changes to personnel
I think it's a good thing for all the all the young players and the players coming in because the coaches are looking for the best guys to play. If they feel like you're going to be better at safety than wide receiver, then they’ll give you that chance, so they have to be ready to move and be ready to play right away.
On getting bowl eligible
We're really motivated because we want to go to a bowl game, we want to win. So, we're really motivate going into this game and to get that sixth win. to go to We didn't go to one last year and so that's really important and getting these next few wins.
On him and Isaiah Kaufusi both setting career high's in tackles
It was just a lot of game planning and when we got out there we just executed the assignments that there given to us. Isaiah, he's a beast, and you guys will have him for another two years, so that’ll be good for BYU.
Defensive back Tanner Jacobson
On his final game at LaVell Edwards Stadium
Just yesterday I was thinking about my career as a whole. Making it to BYU after wanting to come here for so long and having my family be a part of BYU will definitely make it memorable. I’ve put in years of work to get here and went through a lot of ups and downs at BYU.
On dealing with change
I’ve learned to make the most of every situation. There’s always going to be positives and negatives. There’s always plays you wish you could relive and plays you wish you could get back. Choosing to move forward from whatever hand you’re dealt has been one of the biggest things I’ve learned. It hasn’t been easy. Things aren’t always going to go your way. There’s only so much that you can control. It’s important to focus on what you can control.
On getting a win for bowl eligibility
We’re just focused on winning the next game. It is one of our team goals to be bowl eligible and go to a bowl game but it starts with today’s preparation to figure out what we can do against New Mexico State and then go from there.
On addressing slow first quarters
We’ve been emphasizing that in practice. I’ve noticed that there have been changes throughout the season to gear us towards starting faster in practice so that we know we need to get our body ready and warm. It brings the intensity. In the locker room as a team it’s been a focus to start fast and bring our own energy. It’s taken us a little bit to have the energy come out that you see normally after a third down stop. We’re maturing late in the season as a team and it’s something we’re working towards.
Running back Matt Hadley
On his last home game
It's pretty emotional for me personally. I already had one of these last year and didn't know if I was going to be able to get another one. I’m grateful that that I'm here; I just have gratitude and humility, it's pretty emotional. Last year was more sorrow I think, just because I wasn't able to play and you know I missed so much. The emotions this year are just gratitude and humility. I’m thankful to be here.
On what he has learned during his career at BYU
A lot of lessons, a lot of huge life lessons. Some of them can't even really be put into words. I think one of the biggest things I've taken away is persistence. You just have to keep going no matter what you're doing in life, you just have to keep going. I think that's one of the biggest things that I've learned here through injuries and in position changes. I think a lot of players can probably say the same thing is just you know, you have to keep going.
On going to a bowl game
It's always a goal. I think every team at the beginning of every season has the goal to get to a bowl game. Particularly if you're independent, you don't have a chance to go play for a conference championship.
On where the offense has evolved through the last month
We've changed a lot schematically. It's easy to see we've gone from being under center a lot more to being in the gun. I think that's probably opened up some things particularly for Zach as a young quarterback. I think that's probably helped him a lot.
BYU football wrapped up its first week of fall camp with its fifth practice on Saturday morning.