PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – The disappointment from losing a ninth straight rivalry game cannot linger for BYU.
“I know the guys were really hurt after it,” said head coach Kalani Sitake about Thursday’s 30-12 loss to Utah. “But we came to work the next day, have to learn from it and move on. I think with the schedule that we have right now, we don’t have time to really dwell on it.”
“Obviously it was a big game and we wanted to win that,” said defensive end Trajan Pili. “But there is still a lot more good to come from this season. We still have a lot more games to play.”
While the defense could not get off the field against the Utes, quarterback Zach Wilson struggled against that vaunted Utah defense, throwing two pick-six’s.
“I’ve got to be smarter with the ball in my hands and execute better,” Wilson said. “You can’t let it faze you. You’ve got to go into the game knowing mistakes are going to happen. I honestly think we did a really good job of that. We had mistakes, and then we were able to come down and still put drives together.”
“He puts a lot on himself,” added Sitake. “But I think it’s OK for him to lean on his teammates to take some of the blame, too.”
Now it’s on to Tennessee Saturday at Neyland Stadium. The Vols were 25-point favorites against Georgia State, but lost at home, 38-30. So the Cougars know they will be facing an angry team.
“For whatever reason, week one is crazy,” Sitake said. “Tennessee, they’re going to be ready for this game. They’re going to be focused on us, just like we are on them. There are some things that they’re embarrassed with in that first week, just like we are.”
“Tennessee is going to come out hot,” said offensive lineman James Empey. “They’re going to come out a little angry from their game last week, and so will we. So, it’s going to be a lot different game than the one you saw last Saturday.”
As for Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley’s comments after the rivalry game when he said, “We’re never going to lose to them. They’re so poo-poo.”
Kalani Sitake says there are no hard feelings.
“He’s a kid,” Sitake said. “It seems like he was being playful and being silly. He’s a good kid, and I hope people aren’t coming too hard on him.”