Anae said securing the ball is important in “every big game. It’s not unique to a rivalry game. Tell me which game is not big? You try losing one you’re supposed to win, then you realize how big it was. Been there, done that. Every game is big. This is a rivalry game. Turnovers completely reveal themselves in the outcome.”
Ball security, Anae added, has been “a strategic priority from Day One.”
However, in the season-opening loss at Virginia, an interception on a tipped pass set up the Cavaliers’ game-winning touchdown. In BYU’s 40-21 triumph over Texas on Sept. 7, the Cougars had two turnovers, an interception and a fumble.
Meanwhile, the Cougar defense knows it needs to do its part in causing turnovers, especially against Utah.
“We want to create turnovers every game. But this is the biggest game where we need to emphasize taking the ball away,” said Manumaleuna. “We’ve seen the statistics against Utah. If they take more balls away from us, then we usually lose and it’s usually the other way around. If we take the ball away more, we come out on top. It’s the biggest factor, and coach Mendenhall is preparing us for this week to emphasize taking the ball away.”
Turnovers have been “huge” in the rivalry, said linebacker Kyle Van Noy. “It’s been a big factor in the last couple of games. And it’s probably going to be a huge role in this game. I can’t see it changing very much. We’re working on turnovers in practice, and I think they’ll be doing the same things because they have the same stats we do.”
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