PROVO — For whatever reason, BYU loves playing on the road.
The Cougars have already proven that, knocking off Arizona and Wisconsin in Tucson and Madison, respectively. Meanwhile, they suffered their only loss of the season at LaVell Edwards Stadium against California and they got off to a slow start last Saturday against McNeese State at home.
For the third time this month, No. 20 BYU is a double-digit underdog and will play in front of a hostile crowd Saturday when it visits 70,000-seat Husky Stadium and collides with No. 11 Washington.
To what does BYU attribute its success so far on the road?
“We’re a resilient bunch, so when adversity comes, we like it. We want the other crowd cheering against us, cheering for the other team,” said linebacker Adam Pulsipher. “It’s fun to fight that adversity. As well, we have good BYU fan support wherever we go, which is fun. After the game, to sing the fight song and go around the stadium, at away stadiums, is something special. It’s unique to BYU. I think it’s something that hopefully we’ll see there in Seattle.”
Husky Stadium is regarded as one of the loudest stadiums in the country. It holds the record for loudest college football stadium with a 133.6 decibel level, set in 1992. One reason Husky Stadium is so noisy — it's covered by cantilevered metal roofs that trap sound, which reverberates down to the field.
What does coach Kalani Sitake and his staff do to prepare their players for road games?
“We just focus on doing what we do as a team. There are a lot of goals we want to accomplish this week. It starts with a lot of hard work during the week,” he said. “I’m really not worried about Saturday right now. I’m worried about what we’re going to get done today in meetings, the weight room and on the practice field. If we focus on those things, the preparation throughout the week, we’ll feel a lot more confident going into the game Saturday.
"We need to prepare well from Monday through Friday to even get to Saturday, preparing and scouting our opponents. We’ve made mistakes in the first four games, and we need to correct them, and it’s a great opportunity to get them fixed.”
PASSING GAME STRUGGLES: BYU ranks near the bottom of the national statistics, No. 109, in passing.
But senior wide receiver Dylan Collie isn’t worried about it.
“We’ve just got to start with the relationships and trust and the ability to say, ‘We can throw the ball,’” he said. “Does it really matter when we’re playing the way we are and the run game is doing what it is? We have a great offensive line and a great system going. We’re on the up-and-up. There’s no need to press or look at the panic button in any way, shape or form.”60 comments on this story
TOUCHDOWN OPPORTUNITY TAKEN AWAY: Senior running back Matt Hadley played late in the game against McNeese State and carried three times for 23 yards.
His final run moved the Cougars to the Cowboy 4-yard line. Instead of trying to score again in a lopsided 30-3 game, BYU coaches opted to take a knee to run out the clock.
“It’s bittersweet,” Hadley said with a smile of the decision. “No, it’s the right move. (The coaches) made the right decision. I knew that but you’re still kind of champing at the bit, but it’s OK.”