PROVO Max Hall is going from one archrival to another.
The BYU quarterback threw five interceptions and coughed up a fumble in the Cougars' 48-24 defeat in their regular-season finale at Utah. Now, Hall is looking to bounce back in the Las Vegas Bowl against Arizona, a team he has cheered against most of his life.
The junior from Mesa, Ariz., is a longtime Arizona State fan.
"Growing up, I didn't like U of A," he said.
Makes sense. Both his uncle, Danny White, who went on to play for the Dallas Cowboys, and his grandfather, Wilford "Whizzer" White, starred for the Sun Devils and have had their jerseys retired at ASU. Hall redshirted at ASU before transferring to BYU.
"My uncle and my grandpa don't really like U of A," Hall said. "Playing at ASU and being spit on and having beer spilled on them, and all that stuff. ... But I think (Arizona) coach (Mike) Stoops has done a very good job with them. They're a classier program than they've been in the past. They're doing a lot of good things."
Knowing that BYU would play the winner of last weekend's Arizona- Arizona State game, Hall was rooting for the Sun Devils. The Wildcats won, 31-10, to earn a trip to the Las Vegas Bowl.
"I know (ASU quarterback Rudy Carpenter) and I know all those guys there that are seniors now," he said. "Obviously, U of A was the better team. I'm excited to play them."
Ironically, Hall's first start at BYU came in the 2007 season-opener against Arizona in Provo. The Cougars beat the Wildcats, 20-7.
"I was nervous, I remember that," Hall said of that game. "I remember almost throwing up running out of the tunnel. There was a lot of alumni there. (Former BYU linebacker) Todd Shell said, 'We're all counting on you, buddy.' I couldn't even throw a spiral in warmups. ... Lucky for me, we were able to win the game. U of A is a better team than they were the last time we played them. Coach Stoops will get them ready. It'll be a battle, but it's definitely a battle we can win."
So, for Hall, the Las Vegas Bowl will be a rivalry game of sorts.
"It's kind of different when you come to BYU and play (Arizona)," he said. "But we've played them once before, and we were able to beat them. They've got some good athletes over there, and they're going to want a little bit of revenge on us. It's going to be a good football game."
By the way, BYU is scheduled to play Arizona State next fall.
ON THE RECRUITING TRAIL: Since the end of the regular season, Cougar coaches have been busy taking recruiting trips.
Last week, Bronco Mendenhall paid a visit to highly touted linebacker Manti Te'o from Honolulu, Hawaii. Te'o also has interest in Notre Dame, Stanford, USC, UCLA, California and Colorado.
The Cougars have 16 verbal commitments for the recruiting class of 2009.
"Our commitments have stayed strong," said quarterbacks coach Brandon Doman. "We're on track. We have some holes to fill and we're filling those. It's an exciting time."
NO PREMIUM ON BOWL TICKETS: Unlike previous seasons, BYU fans will not be charged a premium of up to $20 on Las Vegas Bowl tickets.
"We felt like in the past, we needed the premium to build our program," said athletic director Tom Holmoe. "The first year we went to the Las Vegas Bowl we didn't win the conference championship so we needed that extra revenue, we thought it was important. The next two years, we won it and it was a building block."Las Vegas Bowl tickets are $58. Holmoe said there is an $8 fee to pay for shipping costs.
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