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BYU football: Cougar seniors looking to finish the season strong

Published: Thursday, Sept. 3 2015 7:38 a.m. MDT

James White (20) of the Wisconsin Badgers scores a touchdown with Daniel Sorensen (9) of the Brigham Young Cougars landing on him during NCAA football in Madison, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013.  (Ravell Call, Deseret News) James White (20) of the Wisconsin Badgers scores a touchdown with Daniel Sorensen (9) of the Brigham Young Cougars landing on him during NCAA football in Madison, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

PROVO — This season hasn’t gone the way BYU safety Daniel Sorensen had hoped.

There was the season-opening setback at Virginia amid bizarre circumstances. Then came a devastating loss at home to archrival Utah in the final scheduled meeting between the two schools until 2016. Then, last Saturday, the Cougars fell to nationally ranked Wisconsin at Camp Randall Stadium.

“We’re all a little frustrated with how some of the season has gone by — not to what we’ve expected,” Sorensen said Monday. “That kind of reflects in some of the ways I’ve played this year. You want to take some of those plays back and do it over again.”

For Sorensen and the 21 other seniors who will be playing their final game at LaVell Edwards Stadium Saturday (1 p.m. MST, BYUtv) against Idaho State, there are just four games remaining. They’re looking to finish the season strong.

James White (20) of the Wisconsin Badgers scores a touchdown with Daniel Sorensen (9) of the Brigham Young Cougars at right during NCAA football in Madison, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013.  (Ravell Call, Deseret News) James White (20) of the Wisconsin Badgers scores a touchdown with Daniel Sorensen (9) of the Brigham Young Cougars at right during NCAA football in Madison, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

The Cougars can still post a 10-win season, and earn their fifth consecutive bowl victory.

“You’ve got to look forward,” Sorensen said. “I’m happy with my career I’ve had here. I’m going to take advantage of the last four games that I have.”

The 22 seniors that will be honored and given their traditional “Y” blankets Saturday are Sorensen, Tyler Beck, JD Falslev, Kaneakua Friel, Spencer Hadley, Mike Hague, Cody Hoffman, Adam Hogan, Austin Holt, Austen Jorgensen, Scott LeFrandt, Eathyn Manumaleuna, Marcus Mathews, Blake Morgan, Jason Munns, Kevin O’Mary, Skyler Ridley, Justin Sorensen, Uani Unga, Manaaki Vaitai, Kyle Van Noy and Richard Wilson.

Falslev (broken hand) and Hadley (knee) will not be available to play Saturday.

Hoffman has broken the three major receiving records at BYU. He’s the Cougars’ all-time leader in receptions (239), yards (3,355) and touchdown catches (33). Hoffman needs one more 100-yard receiving game to surpass Austin Collie in that category and he needs 305 all-purpose yards to eclipse Curtis Brown.

Boise State Broncos running back Jay Ajayi (27) is tackled by Brigham Young Cougars defensive back Daniel Sorensen (9) and Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Spencer Hadley (2) during a game at Lavell Edwards Stadium on Friday, October 25, 2013. (Matt Gade, Deseret News) Boise State Broncos running back Jay Ajayi (27) is tackled by Brigham Young Cougars defensive back Daniel Sorensen (9) and Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Spencer Hadley (2) during a game at Lavell Edwards Stadium on Friday, October 25, 2013. (Matt Gade, Deseret News)

Van Noy is a finalist or semifinalist for four awards — the Senior CLASS award finalist list and the Butkus, Bednarik and Lombardi semifinalist lists.

Also an All-America candidate, Van Noy has recorded 26 career sacks, which is second nationally among active FBS players. He’s tied for No. 4 at BYU in career sacks and needs eight more to become the all-time leader.

Both Van Noy and Hoffman are projected as National Football League draft picks next spring.

How would Daniel Sorensen describe this senior class?

“I would say talented,” he said. “We have a lot of talented players in this senior class. We’ve been through a lot. I don’t think we’ve lived up to everything we could have or should have. In a way, it’s a little disappointing when you see the opportunity that we had before us and not take advantage of that.”

What is coach Bronco Mendenhall assessment of his group of seniors?

“They’re really talented. They’re hard-working. They’ve accomplished a lot,” he said. “I think what they’re most anxious for is to have a great finish to this year. They think there’s still a lot left that they might be able to accomplish. I’m just grateful they came to BYU and they’ve really helped our program.”

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