PROVO — It's been two weeks since BYU has played a game.
That's one of the reasons why the Cougars are eager to take the field again Saturday (8:15 p.m. MT, ESPNU) when they host lowly Idaho on Senior Night.
"You're going to see a very conditioned, very fast team against Idaho," said linebacker Kyle Van Noy. "We're all healthy and we're going to be flying around out there."
With a victory, BYU will be bowl eligible for the eighth consecutive year. But the Cougars say what is really motivating them is the chance to get better.
"All we're focused on is going out and playing our best football, which we still haven't done yet," said senior linebacker Brandon Ogletree. "There's a lot to improve on and work on. We just want to go out and be dominant, and that's something we think we can do."
BYU will be without senior starting safety Joe Sampson and sophomore backup linebacker Zac Stout. Coach Bronco Mendenhall announced Thursday that Sampson and Stout have been suspended from the team for an unspecified violation of team rules. Both players have withdrawn from school and will not return this season.
Sophomore Craig Bills is expected to take over the starting free safety spot in place of Sampson.
While freezing temperatures and snow showers are expected, it should be an emotional night as the Cougars honor two dozen seniors who are playing in their final game at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
"It is sad," said senior defensive lineman Romney Fuga. "It's crazy because it's gone by super-fast, a lot faster than I thought it would. It's going to be a special moment for me and all the seniors that are going out. It hasn't really hit us yet. We love playing for each other and playing for this program. It hasn't really hit us yet. I’m pretty sure it will when the day comes. But we're going to treat it like a regular game."
Senior quarterback Riley Nelson said he wants to perform well in his final home game.
"Wins are hard to come by. Every win is an emotional win for me. I hope we can come out and play well. It has a chance to be a special night," he said. "We've got four more games, so it's hard to think of this as the end. We have one-fourth of our season left. You can't think of this as the end. It's just another game and hopefully we'll go out and execute."
Senior cornerback Preston Hadley said it doesn't matter who the opponent is.
"Obviously, we have the advantage, but we still have some work to do to improve and finish out the season. We're going to go out and have fun. This is our last chance at LaVell Edwards Stadium."
Cougars and Vandals on the air
Idaho (1-8) at BYU (5-4)
Saturday, 8:15 p.m. MT
LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo
Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company