PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Coming off its first victory over Utah in 12 years, the BYU football team faces another Pac-12 challenge this Saturday, when #19 Arizona State marches into LaVell Edwards Stadium.
The Cougars cracked the top-25 after its 26-17 win over the Utes, coming in at #23.
“It feels good,” said running back Lopini Katoa. “It feels good any week, but its definitely special doing it against Utah and being able to help carry the load a little bit for the offense.”
“Winning that game was a blast,” added offensive lineman James Empey. “I’m proud of how the guys played, and we were just able to get it done when it mattered most. I’m proud of the guys and I thought we took a big step on Saturday.”
It was quite a week for BYU with the announcement on Friday that it would be joining the Big 12 Conference in 2023. Head coach Kalani Sitake liked the way his team stayed focus on the task at hand — beat the Utes.
“It was intense,” Sitake said. “I like the preparation, I like the way our guys were focused on what was going on. They were so razor-sharped focus that the game was more important than the Big 12 announcement, and that was evident from what we saw as a coaching staff that these guys were so focused on that game.”
The Cougars will face its third straight Pac-12 team as the 2-0 Arizona State Sun Devils come to town. BYU will be looking for its first back-to-back 3-0 start since the 1951 and 1952 seasons. Sitake says the focus for this game will be the same as the Utah game.
“What I like about it is, let’s just do that exact same thing again,” he said. “Let’s have that same type of mindset, that same type of focus.”
“Saturday was so much fun, but winning that game was not our end goal,” added Empey. “We have ten more games to battle, especially this one this week, and I think guys re already turning their focus towards ASU and looking forward to that game. ASU has as ton of talent. They play really hard and they’re a physical team. So we’re just excited to step up to the plate for the next challenge and keep this thing rolling.”
“I think it’s the same mindset going into Utah transfers over to this week,” said defensive lineman Lorenzo Fauatea. “I think our sharpness and our focus will be the exact same or even increased for this week’s game.
Through two games quarterback Jaren Hall has yet to turn the ball over. While he hasn’t put up eye-popping numbers, Hall has guided the Cougars to two impressive victories.
“In regards to numbers, he’s doing great with the numbers that matter the most,” Sitake said. “That’s what we’re focused on. We had some mistakes in this game. That’s not directed towards Jaren, but it’s nice to know that the leader on the offense isn’t doing that.”
BYU and Arizona State will kick off at 8:15 p.m. Saturday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.