PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Next Thursday night, the BYU football team has another shot at redemption.
Looking for its first win in the rivalry game in ten years, a span of eight straight losses, the Cougars host Utah to kick off the 2019 season a week from tonight at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
“First game, baby, I’m excited,” said safety Austin Lee. “It’s a very intense game with a lot of emotions flying around.”
“It’s exciting, man,” said quarterback Zach Wilson. “It’s an amazing opportunity to be in our home stadium with our fans. I know the guys are ready to go. We’ve prepared for this.”
The Cougars say they don’t really feel the pressure to win just to end the 8-game losing streak. Afterall, they weren’t around for most of those losses.
“I mean, the streak is not us,” said Wilson who was a part of last year’s 35-27 loss as a freshman. “I’m not too worried about it because I wasn’t here when we lost how many games it was. It’s a new team, a new time, new players, new coaches, all that stuff. So, we don’t really worry about the streak.”
“It’s frustrating, but it’s real,” said Lee. “It’s the streak, and you’ve got to be real with it. I’m frustrated with it, but it makes us ready for the game right now.”
“It’s more of us not being able to change the past, but being able to fix the game that’s ahead,” added wide receiver Aleva Hifo. “For us, that’s next Thursday. No matter what the streak is, 9, 10, 15, we just have to make sure that we’re going to win the next game.”
Wilson said he has watched the film of last year’s game maybe 100 times, and he knows if the Cougars get another 20-point lead, they have to finish.
“I think that’s when preparation really does come in,” Wilson said. “One of these sayings our coaches have is preparation brings swagger.”
“The tension has been building ever since we left our bowl game,” said Hifo. “Everyone knew who our first opponent was. Everyone knew how our last game ended with them. Tension has been building for the last couple months, and it’s finally here. The intensity is going to be high and we just have to match that intensity.”
To be the team to end the losing streak to Utah would mean the world to BYU nation.
“It would mean a lot,” Lee said. “There is a lot of alumni out there and a lot of fans. We have a very good fan base, and they’re very excited for us.”