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Utah Utes football: Reilly ready for an encore

Published: Thursday, Sept. 13 2012 3:22 p.m. MDT

Utah Utes linebacker Trevor Reilly (49) sacks Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Jake Heaps (9)as BYU and Utah play Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011.

Scott G Winerton, Deseret News

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's Trevor Reilly had plenty of reasons to rise and shout in last year's 54-10 victory at BYU. He had quite the game — a school-record three forced fumbles, plus three tackles-for-loss, two sacks, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup.

"You can always play better, but I had a pretty good statistical game," Reilly said. "The scheme was great. Something (BYU) hadn't seen before. So I was put in position to make plays, and I made them."

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham doesn't really look at it as Reilly's breakout game. He said that the junior is a big part of the defense every week and is getting even better.

"He's a big-play guy and has really come into his own this year. He had a good year for us last year, but he's taken his game to another level," Whittingham said. "It started in spring. He's one of our team leaders, without a doubt, and really has just matured in this program and become an outstanding player."

Reilly, who sees action at both linebacker and defensive end, is currently Utah's second-leading tackler with 12 stops. He's also been credited with a fumble recovery, a pass breakup, a quarterback hurry and a sack.

Now comes his BYU encore. Last year's performance earned him national and Pac-12 defensive player of the week recognition.

Playing well against the Cougars is something he'd like to do again.

"I want to do it every week, but if I had to choose a game that would probably be it — just because it's the Rivalry Game," Reilly said as the Utes prepare for Saturday's contest at Rice-Eccles Stadium.

Location won't be the only difference. This year's BYU squad includes a familiar face, Reilly's little brother Drew. The safety is sitting out this season after transferring from Colorado State.

Even so, Trevor Reilly noted the situation has added to the fun of the rivalry — something they'll be able to talk about down the road.

"It'll be fun," he said. "I'm looking forward to it."

Although Reilly wanted his brother to play for Utah, both players realized that BYU provided a better shot for playing time since the Utes had more underclassmen at safety.

As such, it'll be a family divided on the field next season when the teams meet in Provo.

"It'll be great," Trevor Reilly said before taking a friendly jab at his sibling. "Hopefully I can go up against him and knock him out or something."

EXTRA POINTS: A homecoming parade and pep rally is set for Friday night from 6-7 at The Gateway. … The Runnin' Utes men's basketball team will greet fans as they enter the stadium on Saturday. … The annual ROTC run will deliver the game ball after making the journey from Provo. … Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is scheduled to attend the game. … Bands from BYU and Utah will perform together at halftime.

Email: dirk@desnews.com Twitter: @DirkFacer

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