PROVO, UTAH (ABC4 Sports) – After a 35-6 defeat at #7 Texas this past Saturday, BYU fell to 5-3 on the year, with all three losses coming on the road by an average margin of 24 points.
But head coach Kalani Sitake says to consider the opponents.
“We lost three games this year,” Sitake said Monday. “They happen to be on the road. It’s tough to play on the road in this conference. We didn’t perform at our best against a team that was in the national championship last year (TCU), one is ranked in the top-25 (Kansas), and the other is ranked in the top-10 (Texas). So, that’s the reality of it all.”
Against Texas, the Cougars failed to score a touchdown for the first time in four years, and they lost to a backup quarterback for the second time this season. But such is life in the talented and deep Big 12 Conference.
“We all knew going into this season that it was going to be a dogfight each week,” said linebacker Tyler Batty. “Every team in the Big 12 has the capability and talent to go out and win every game. Every team is going to have a great quarterback, and a good running back.”
On Saturday, it was backup Maalik Murphy throwing for two touchdowns against the BYU defense, as the Longhorns racked up 354 total yards.
With the Cougars offense scoring just three touchdowns total in the last three games, Kalani Sitake is growing a little impatient.
“It’s go time now,” he said. “It’s been go time. They way that we’ve been doing it hasn’t been working the way that I want it to. We have very smart coaches and capable players that we can find different ways to try to get points on the board.”
Over the last three games, quarterback Kedon Slovis is averaging just 159 yards per game, while throwing two touchdowns and three interceptions.
“We don’t have guys on offense saying the defense isn’t doing their job,” said running back Aidan Robbins. “We don’t have guys on defense saying the offense isn’t doing their job. Even when things don’t go our way, we still try to find a way to remain positive, and focus on how we can accomplish our goals.
This is the second time this year BYU has given up a punt return touchdown, so special teams coverage needs to tighten up without injured special teams ace Marcus McKenzie.
“We have capable guys who can cover,” Sitake said. “I think out-kicking your coverage is a real thing, especially where someone has a powerful leg, like Ryan Rehkow. “But I feel like we can still get down and cover it.”
BYU now prepares for its longest road trip of the season, as the Cougars travel some 2,000 miles to Morgantown, West Virginia this Saturday.
“It is a long trip,” said defensive back Kamden Garrett. “I’ve never been to West Virginia, so I don’t know how long the flight is. But our coaches tell us that the hay is never in the barn, so no matter who you end up playing, you can continue to watch film and prepare.”
BYU (5-3, 2-3 Big 12) and West Virginia (5-3, 3-2 Big 12) will kick off at 5:00 p.m. this Saturday.