PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – The sound coming from Seattle Saturday night was the BYU football team crashing back down to Earth.
After vaulting up to #20 in the national rankings, BYU didn’t just lose to the Huskies, they really weren’t even competitive.
“They played their best game and we played our worst and that was the result,” head coach Kalani Sitake said of the 35-7 loss. “It would have been nice to see how our best game would have compared to their best.”
“It stings, it hurts,” said defensive back Austin Lee. “But it’s so good to know that we get to come back right away. And it’s a day sooner to prepare.”
“We were all frustrated after Saturday’s loss,” added quarterback Tanner Mangum, who completed 18 of 21 passes for 166 yards. “But what better way to bounce back than to have a great opportunity to go out and play again. It’s another chance to redeem yourself.”
The Cougars offense was dealt a blow when leading receiver Moroni Laulu-Pututau was lost for the rest of the season with a torn ACL suffered in the first series of the game.
“My heart hurts,” Mangum said. “He’s one of my best friends and someone I really care about. He’s worked so hard to get back, so it’s heartbreaking.”
“He really wanted this game because he’s from Logan,” said Sitake. “It’s unfortunate. He’s had some really tough battles with injury.”
After winning last year in Logan, 40-24, Utah State now has a chance to win back-to-back games in this rivalry for the first time since the mid-70’s.
“You’ve got to beat them a few times before it becomes a rivalry,” said Utah State head coach Matt Wells. “I don’t know if me as the head coach can stand up here and declare that it is a rivalry. I know that it is in our locker room. It’s something that our fans look forward to, our alumni.”
“It’s a big game,” added Aggies offensive lineman Roman Andrus, who spent two seasons at BYU before transferring to Utah State. “It’s a cool experience because obviously I know a lot of those guys still and I still talk to them. Obviously there’s a lot of history between the two teams.”
For the Cougars, they want to get rid of the bad taste last year’s loss left and bring the Wagon Wheel trophy back to Provo.
“Last year, Utah State took it to us and beat us pretty handily,” said Mangum. “So, that was frustrating and tough to take. So, there’s a lot of emotion that goes into these games.”
BYU and Utah State kick off at 7:00 p.m. Friday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.