BYU football notebook: Cougars honor seniors before Idaho game
PROVO — Nearly two dozen BYU seniors were honored before Saturday night's game against Idaho.
The seniors recognized were Ezekiel Ansah, Braden Brown, Rhen Brown, Robbie Buckner, Ian Dulan, DeQuan Everett, David Foote, Ryan Freeman, Romney Fuga, Preston Hadley, Braden Hansen, Reed Hornung, Austen Jorgensen, Uona Kaveinga, Walter Kahaiali'i, James Lark, Zed Mendenhall, Riley Nelson, Brandon Ogletree, Jordan Richardson, Riley Stephenson, Russell Tialavea, and Simote Vea.
"They've been really close from the beginning," coach Bronco Mendenhall said this week of the senior class. "They're showing really good leadership. I'm lucky to be their coach. It's fun to coach these guys."
Nelson was asked last week about his legacy at BYU.
"I've never thought about that. It doesn't really matter what I want," he said. "People are going to think what they're going to think and say what they're going to say. There's really very little I can do to change that."
100TH GAME: Saturday marked Mendenhall's 100th game as BYU's head coach. He entered the night with a 71-28 record.
"I respect him as a leader as much as I have any coach or person in athletics I've been around," Nelson said of Mendenhall. "It's mostly due to his consistent nature and the fact that he isn't influenced by outside sources. He kind of does what he feels is right in his heart and doesn't care about the opinions of others. He and I think along the same lines."
SAN DIEGO IN DECEMBER: Bruce Binkowski, the executive director of the Poinsettia Bowl, attended Saturday's game. The Cougars will play in the Dec. 20 game against the No. 2 selection from the Mountain West Conference.
Binkowski said San Diego State will likely be the bowl's pick, if the Las Vegas Bowl, which owns the first selection, doesn't take the Aztecs first. The projected payout for the Poinsettia Bowl is $500,000 per team.
As an independent, BYU struck a deal with the Poinsettia Bowl in 2010. It will mark the Cougars' first appearance in the bowl. BYU played in seven straight Holiday Bowls there from 1978-84, but the Cougars haven't played in the Holiday Bowl since 1993.
"It's been a great relationship with city of San Diego and the San Diego Bowl Association and BYU," Binkowski said. "To be able to lock them in with the Poinsettia Bowl, we couldn't be happier."
EXTRA POINTS: Temperature at kickoff was 27 degrees. Piles of snow covered the area behind both end zones. Crews moved snow off the field during the day. BYU senior Robbie Buckner started the game in place of Jordan Johnson at field corner. Johnson was on the sidelines but not in uniform. Buckner recorded an interception in the first half. Another senior, Simote Vea, recovered a fumble late in the second quarter. Senior defensive lineman Romney Fuga carried out the team flag and junior receiver J.D. Falslev carried out the special teams flag. ... Nelson completed his first seven passes for 119 yards and a touchdown The Cougars recorded their first defensive touchdown of the season on linebacker Spencer Hadley's 2-yard fumble recovery in the first quarter. Fullback Iona Pritchard wore No. 39 Saturday, instead of his usual No. 5, in honor of senior defensive lineman Ian Dulan, who has been sidelined this season due to a back injury. BYU led 42-7 with 6:49 left in first half. Last year BYU beat Idaho by the same score, 42-7.
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