PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – BYU knew its schedule would be tough week in and week out when it entered the Big 12 Conference this year.
But on Saturday, it doesn’t get much tougher than a trip to Austin, Texas to take on the 7th-ranked and undefeated Longhorns.
“We’ve been in big games before, we’ve been in tough environments,” said head coach Kalani Sitake. “I don’t think you need to build it up more than just what we want to get down to. It’s not like they’re going to perform better because the stage is bigger, because the team is one of the best in the country. For me, it just makes the sense of urgency, it just pushes it even more. So I don’t even have to say much, other than let’s go enjoy it, let’s go have some fun with this.”
BYU is coming off a somewhat lackluster 27-14 victory over Texas Tech at home on Saturday. They know they’ll have to play much better against Texas, especially in the second half when the Cougars generated just 68 yards of total offense.
But playing in front of 100,000 rabid fans at Texas will definitely up the intensity in practice this week.
“It will be amazing,” said wide receiver Kody Epps. “It’s going to be a great experience. This will be my first time even seeing the stadium, going to play in that environment. I heard that environment is rocking, it’s going to be loud, and it’s going to be fun.”
“I feel like the vibe of the team is that everyone is really excited,” added offensive lineman Paul Maile. “Playing a big-time team like Texas, a blue-blood, they’re usually always really good. So, going in there with a chip on our shoulder, I feel like we still haven’t played a full team game. We can start early and just play our brand of football. I feel like we can compete with anyone, but definitely excited for the opportunity.”
The Cougars are 5-2 overall this season, 2-2 in the Big 12. While contending for a conference title is a long shot, BYU can certainly put a damper on Texas’ hopes in its final season in the Big 12.
“I think everyone is just really excited,” said linebacker Jackson Cravens. “We want to carry our momentum from this past game over to this game. Playing over at Texas, that’s an opportunity I’m sure we’ve all dreamed of as kids, so everyone is really looking forward to it.”
BYU and Texas will kick off at 1:30 p.m. MT Saturday afternoon.