A challenging schedule and high expectations await a veteran BYU football team as year number two of independence gets under way.
The team is led on offense by senior quarterback Riley Nelson. Nelson has led the Cougars to an 8-1 record, including an Armed Forces Bowl victory, since taking over the quarterback position last year. Wide receivers Cody Hoffman, Ross Apo and running back Michael Alisa return as well to provide BYU with a potent offensive attack. The university looks for BYU’s offensive line to again provide solid protection for Riley Nelson as they return three starters.
BYU’s defense returns seven starters from last season’s team that was ranked number 13 in the nation in yards allowed. BYU’s defense is looking for great things from its front seven this year, a group that features defensive captain Brandon Ogletree, Kyle Van Noy and Romney Fuga. The Cougars also look to show off a secondary that will give wide receivers fits with their athleticism.
Year two of independence brings a more difficult schedule with exciting games both at home and on the road. Utah State, Hawaii and Oregon State highlight the home schedule. Utah State will be looking for revenge after BYU came from behind to win on a last-second touchdown last season.
Tough road games against Utah, Boise State, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech will test BYU early and often this season. The rivalry game between BYU and Utah takes on special significance this season as these teams will only play one more time, next season, before a gap until 2016.
After beating WSU on Thursday night, BYU looks to go 2-0 when Weber State comes to LaVell Edwards Stadium to face the Cougars Saturday at 1 p.m.