PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – After a scintillating 2-0 start with a win over a top-ten team, hopes were as high as they could be for the BYU football team.
So a loss like the 41-20 beatdown at Oregon this past Saturday can be damaging. But the Cougars have to get past it as quickly as possible.
“Going through some adversity, we can really make some changes,” head coach Kalani Sitake said. “We can really make some improvement. Whenever you’re being questioned a little bit as a team and as a program, you have one choice. I’ve asked these guys to be humble and to be hungry. Now you have no choice but to be humble and to learn.”
“I don’t think a loss really defines us as a group,” said wide receiver Kody Epps, who caught a touchdown pass against the Ducks. “We know what we need to focus on. We know we can do better.”
“We’re trying to still stay positive,” added linebacker Keenan Pili. “We’re trying to fall back on what we know, and that’s love and learn.”
“We can’t let this loss affect the rest of our season,” said tight end Isaac Rex. “We need to learn and improve.”
What the Cougars need to improve on is running the ball. They’re averaging just 2.5 yards per carry over the last two games against Oregon and Baylor.
“I felt like they stacked the box pretty heavily,” tight end Isaac Rex said about the Oregon defense. “They’re a good team. Oregon was strong and had good athletes on defense. But we’ll watch the film today and try to get better.”
“There’s probably a bunch of things that factor into it,” Sitake said. “A lack of technique, missed assignments, all that stuff factors into it.”
Wyoming may not have the same cache as Baylor or Oregon oes, but the Cowboys are pretty good. They’re 3-1, and just beat a very tough Air Force team. A win over a top-20 team would make their season.
“Our guys know that we’re going to get their best shot,” Sitake said. “This is just like a lot of the other teams that we play against, of how important it is to them.”
“Wyoming is a respectable opponent,” Pili said. “I know they had a big win last week, and we’re excited to be able to compete against them. We think they’re a great program with great players and athletes on their team.”
BYU is hopeful they’ll get starting wide receivers Puka Nacua and Gunner Romney back this week, as well as defensive ends Tyler Batty and Earl Tuioti-Mariner.
“I feel good about possibly getting Gunner and Puka back,” Sitake said. “I think Batty is closer than anyone, but we’ll see. I felt this way a couple week ago too. So I have no idea anymore. We’re just going to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”
BYU and Wyoming kick off at 8:15 p.m. Saturday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.