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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Get to know BYU

UA tight end Rob Gronkowski goes full extension to make a catch during a 31-21 Wildcat win against BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 20, 2011. The Wildcats will face BYU once again Sept. 3 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
File Photo

UA tight end Rob Gronkowski goes full extension to make a catch during a 31-21 Wildcat win against BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 20, 2011. The Wildcats will face BYU once again Sept. 3 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

Arizona football will face the BYU Cougars this Saturday in their first game of the 2016-17 season.

So, who is BYU?

BYU, or Brigham Young University, hails from the snowcapped mountains of Provo, Utah. The Division I, private university has been a football Independent team since 2011 and finished up last season unranked with a 9-4 record, the best record for the Cougars since 2011.

BYU recently hired a new coach and offensive coordinator, both previous BYU football players. Kalani Sitake, BYU’s new head coach, was a three-year starter at fullback from 1998-2000, team captain and most valuable running back. Offensive Coordinator, Ty Detmer, played as a quarterback for the Cougars and won the Heisman Trophy in 1990. This new coaching staff has energized the BYU fan base, especially because of Detmer, the last BYU quarterback to orchestrate a win over a number one-ranked team.

BYU returns with a strong, experienced returning lineup after naming fifth-year senior Taysom Hill the starting quarterback over sophomore sensation Tanner Mangum.

In 2013 Hill played 13 games and had a 53.9 percent completion percentage. Hill was plagued with injuries in the following seasons, only playing one game last season and five in 2014.

The Cougars offensive line took a hit this season. losing two of its most experience players, Kyle Johnson and Brad Wilcox. Strong returning starters for BYU’s offensive line, however, include top rusher Algernon Brown and running back Jamaal Williams, who both show a lot of promise for the upcoming season.

BYU also welcomes back a familiar defensive line with linebacker and leading tackler Harvey Langi, defensive linemen Sae Tautu and Travis Tuiloma, as well as defensive backs Michael Davis and Kai Nacua.

This is Nacua’s third straight season as a starter; he’s a strong asset for BYU as an experienced and talented safety, something the Wildcats will have to account for. In 2015, Nacua had six interceptions and a BYU record of 137 return yards and two touchdowns, making him a key player for the Cougars’ defense.

BYU has been known in the past for having a strong offensive line and seems to be continuing that legacy leading into the season opener against the Wildcats. On the other side of the coin, the Cougars defensive line proves to be a weakness in the upcoming season. After losing Bronson Kaufusi to the NFL, the Cougars are down one of their strongest tacklers.

Many more of the defensive line players have been out with lingering injuries and have had less playing time in the past, thus showing room for improvement.

The Wildcats definitely have a strong chance against BYU in the season opener if they maintain a strong defense and put pressure on the Cougars weaker defensive line.

BYU, however, is as dangerous a matchup as they come. They are fundamentally sound and have been known to pull off the upset, such as last year when they beat Nebraska at Nebraska on a Hail Mary throw by Tanner Mangum, snapping the 29-game home opener winning streak of the Cornhuskers.

The Cactus Kickoff game against BYU will be played at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. on Sept. 3. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 PM. 


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