PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – BYU has never beaten Boise State on the blue turf in Boise. The Cougars are 0-5 on the road against the Broncos, but they have never played a game as big as this one.
#9 BYU (7-0) takes on #21 Boise State (2-0) Friday night on a short week, with huge postseason implications for both teams.
“All we care about is being at our best and seeing what happens afterward,” head coach Kalani Sitake said, trying to downplay the significance of the game.
BYU did beat Boise State last year in Provo, 28-25 behind third-string quarterback Baylor Romney. But the Cougars have never won in Boise, including a painful 21-16 loss two years ago in Zach Wilson’s freshman year, when Wilson got tackled on the final play as time ran out.
That is a loss that still stings to this day.
“It’s painful to think about,” said wide receiver Dax Milne, Wilson’s roommate and close friend. “I remember I wanted to go right up to Zach and tell him it’s alright. But he really took it hard, and it’s probably a motivation factor going into this week.”
“That was a wild game,” said offensive lineman James Empey. “It was really fun to play in. We played ourselves back to have a chance in the last little bit. We came up short, and it’s something that we’ve learned from just like every win and every loss up until this point. It’s a brand new game, clean slate and we get a chance to play a great team again.”
So is there any carryover from either of the last two games?
“There is some carryover,” Sitake said. “But I think there’s different bodies on the field, different names. The one thing that I notice when you’re watching Boise is they basically put guys in there and it doesn’t seem to have a lot of drop off.”
Case in point, Boise State quarterback Hank Bachmeier shredded Utah State a couple weeks ago, throwing for 268 yards and three touchdowns. But Bachmeier missed last week’s game against Air Force for an unknown reason, and backup quarterback Jack Sears, a USC transfer didn’t skip a beat. Sears threw for 280 yards and three touchdowns against the Falcons.
It is unclear which quarterback will play Friday night.
“It doesn’t really matter who the quarterback is going to be,” Sitake said. “I’ve been impressed with both Bachmeier and Sears. What they’ve been able to do and score a lot of points, their skill set is impressive. So, we’ll have to be ready for both of them.”
“Boise is a great team and they play so well at home,” Empey said. “That’s kind of what they put their hat on is that they’re tough, physical, they’re going to play really hard and win a lot of games.”
But that home field advantage will pretty much be non-existent with no fans in attendance.
“To try to get caught up in all the hype, it could throw you off your game,” said defensive back Troy Warner. “So, we’re just taking it as another game. Obviously Boise is another rivalry team for us, and it’s always fun playing there.”