FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Having to travel more than 2,000 miles and two time zones for Saturday’s game against UMass, BYU left a day early, on Thursday, to adjust for the time change.
Plus, the Cougars will be playing early, squaring off against the Minutemen at 10 a.m. Mountain Time, at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
What are the challenges of making such a long trip and playing such an early game?
“We’re going to go a day early to get adjusted to the clock. The only issues that happen is what you give credit to. I don’t think we’ll have any problems,” said coach Kalani Sitake. “We’ll practice Thursday morning and travel there a day early. The game is 10 a.m. here. That’s nice. Our guys will be able to get up, eat breakfast and go play a game. It will be a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to seeing our East Coast fans out there.”
BYU has had mixed results in games in the Eastern Time Zone. Since 1980, the Cougars’ record in the Eastern Time Zone is 10-19.
Under Sitake, BYU has lost to West Virginia and East Carolina while defeating Michigan State and Cincinnati in Eastern games.
The Cougars are looking forward to playing at a National Football League venue — the home of the New England Patriots.
“It adds a lot. There’s a lot of history there and there’s a lot of great things that have happened there,” said BYU safety Austin Lee. “Hopefully, we can continue to make more history and greatness on that field. I’m excited to play there.”
Gillette Stadium is located 95 miles away from the UMass campus in Amherst. The Minutemen played their home games at Gillette Stadium in 2012 and 2013 while they were upgrading their stadium to meet FBS requirements.
BOWL PROJECTIONS: BYU is two victories away from becoming bowl eligible.
Various outlets have released this week’s bowl projections. Here’s where they project the Cougars to play in the postseason, for what it’s worth:
Athlon Sports — BYU vs. Tulane in the Frisco Bowl on Dec. 19
ESPN — BYU vs. San Diego State in the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 15.
Watchstadium.com — BYU vs. UAB in the First Responder Bowl on Dec. 26.
USA Today — BYU vs. Houston in the Frisco Bowl on Dec. 19.6 comments on this story
Sporting News — BYU vs. San Diego State in the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 15.
Sports Illustrated — No bowl for BYU.
EYE OF THE TIGER: Defensive lineman Zac Dawe said his team is close to reaching its potential after facing plenty of adversity in recent weeks.
“We’ve just got to catch some momentum,” he explained. “We’re one or two plays from being exactly where we need to be. Going into this week, we’ve got regain our ground. Like Rocky Balboa, we’ve just got to get that ‘Eye of the Tiger’ back.”