BYU senior defensive lineman Vic So'oto grew up in Southern California, so he didn't know much about the rivalry with Utah before arriving in Provo.
He knows all about it now.
"Once I came here, I think Utah beat us in overtime (in 2005)," So'oto remembered. "It kind of gave me a taste of the rivalry, and I've been hooked ever since."
What makes the rivalry so intense?
"History and close games," So'oto said. "(BYU and Utah have) sort of been in the upper-echelon of college football the last couple of years and the past decade of BYU and Utah being in the conversations as far as BCS-busting and moving conferences.
"It's fun. As far as rivalries go, this has got to be one of the top rivalries in college football. The state is literally split in half. Families get split up for this week."
Senior cornerback Brian Logan, a junior college transfer, was introduced to the rivalry last year.
"It was definitely more intense than I thought it would be," Logan said. "Last year, it was just another game to me. It was my first time in the rivalry. I had only been part of the program for maybe six months. I was like, 'Whatever.' I remember so many Utah fans throwing stuff at our bus on the way to the stadium and giving us 'friendly' hand gestures. That just fired me up and I was ready to play."
"(A win over Utah) would mean a lot. There's a lot of hope, a lot of pressure, a lot of feeling behind the game for that reason. A great way to show that even though we didn't start out the way we wanted to, it doesn't mean we were a bad team. It just means we had to figure some things out. I think we have figured those things out and we'll continue to progress."
— BYU offensive lineman Matt Reynolds
BYU has scored at least 14 points in the first quarter in each of its last four games, the first time the Cougars have accomplished that feat in the program's history. BYU has scored 14 points in the fourth quarter six times overall this season, the most since 1983. The Cougars have outscored their opponents 101-44 in the first quarter in 2010.
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Senior placekicker Mitch Payne set a new Mountain West Conference record for most kicking points in a career last week against New Mexico. Payne surpassed his brother, and former BYU kicker Matt, for the top spot all-time. He now has 314 career points. ... Running back JJ Di Luigi is BYU's leading rusher and leading receiver. He has carried the ball 151 times for 805 yards and caught 41 passes for 410 yards. Di Luigi has scored eight touchdowns this season, including seven on the ground. ... BYU senior safety Andrew Rich has a team-high 96 tackles this season.