For us, it’s definitely a bonding experience. We do make the most of it. —BYU quarterback Beau Hoge
FRESNO, Calif. — Watching golf and college football on TV. Attending team meetings. Playing "Monopoly" and games on cellphones. Eating. Doing homework.
Those are some of the ways BYU players and coaches pass the time when there’s a late game on the road, like the Cougars had Saturday night against Fresno State.
With an 8:45 p.m. MDT kickoff, that makes for a long, long day of waiting at the hotel.
“It’s hard. I dislike it as a player and a coach,” said BYU receivers coach Ben Cahoon. “For me as a player, I wanted to keep my heart rate low. I just want to chill all day. So I didn’t watch a lot of college football. I tried to watch golf. You want to sit around and rest, but you don’t want to sit around all day long. It’s a challenge to find ways to occupy your mind and stay ready.”
Wide receiver Talon Shumway said he and his teammates like to play an app on their phones called “Psyche!”
“We’ll spend a couple of hours playing it,” Shumway said. “’Psyche!’ keeps us not psyched, not psyched out.”
Shumway focuses on his academics, too. “I usually do homework,” he said. “That might get me stressed, depending on the class.”
Quarterback Beau Hoge said some of his teammates like playing "Monopoly." He added that they enjoy spending time together on the road.
“For us, it’s definitely a bonding experience,” Hoge said. “We do make the most of it.”
Coach Kalani Sitake said the players watch a lot of football.
“There’s a lot of football going on during the day. The harder ones are the late kickoffs on a weekday,” he said. “You have to keep them busy with meetings and stuff. Our guys love football. They’ll watch film and watch games and enjoy the college football atmosphere. There are so many games available these days. They’ll have things to do with that, meetings and eating.”
Hoge said there's plenty to do during the down time.
“It’s keeping yourself busy watching film. Our coaches do a good job of creating a schedule for game days like this,” he said. “We have meetings and little things throughout the day to keep our blood moving. Then you have down time, where it’s advantageous to get a little bit of rest, get some treatment. With all that, you keep yourself busy.”
LAST TIME IN FRESNO: Saturday marked BYU’s first football game in Fresno since 1998, when the Bulldogs defeated the Cougars, 31-21.
“I guess I didn’t block well enough in that game,” recalled Sitake, who was a BYU fullback in '98. Then, he joked, “I could say they didn’t throw me the ball enough. If I would have run the ball we would have been more successful.”
When BYU left the Mountain West Conference in 1999, the teams stopped playing each other until 2015. The Cougars defeated the Bulldogs in Provo 52-10 that season.
In 1995, BYU beat FSU in Fresno, 45-28, as quarterback Steve Sarkisian set the school single-game completion percentage record, 31-34 (91.2 percent) in the season finale.
Despite the victory, the Cougars’ 17-year bowl streak ended. BYU finished with a 7-4 record.