BYU looks to rebound against Hawaii

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Two straight losses to Utah and Boise State have the Cougars looking to get back on the winning track against the Hawaii Warriors on Friday.

“We’re coming off a poor offensive performance and we’re really hungry to prove that wasn’t us and that game was a fluke,” senior quarterback Riley Nelson said. “We’re going to come out and play a lot better and I’m sure their defense is thinking the same thing.”

The Cougars may be without Nelson for the game. He has been limited in practice with a sore back and is questionable for Friday night’s game. Despite his limited amount of practice, Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall will not make a desicion on starting Nelson until Friday if possible.

“Riley has been limited and is not ready yet,” Mendenhall said. “We’re gonna hold out (making a decision) as long as we can.”

Freshman quarterback Taysom Hill has been getting the majority of the snaps in practice and is preparing as if he will be the starter for Friday night.

“I’m doing my best to prepare as if I’m going to be the guy.” Hill said. “It’s been extremely fun to take a lot of snaps in practice, and with that I’ll do my best if called upon to be ready come Friday night.”

Hawaii is coming off a tough 69-24 loss to Nevada in its first game as a member of the Mountain West Conference. The Warriors are led on offense by junior quarterback Sean Schroeder and freshman running back Will Gregory.

BYU will counter Hawaii’s offense with the No. 7 ranked defense in the nation. Despite the top ten ranking the Cougars are struggling to force turnovers. Junior linebacker Kyle Van Noy said that has more to do with the game plan.

“Our defense isn’t there to create crazy turnovers and blitz,” Van Noy said. “Our goal is to keep them in front and not let them score. Turnovers will come, we just need to have more effort and eventually they will come.”

Friday’s game will also feature the return of former BYU assistant coach Norm Chow. Chow coached at BYU for 27 years before leaving Provo to be the offensive coordinator at North Carolina State. Despite his many years in Provo, Chow is focused on getting the win and less about his memories at BYU.

“I’ve been back three times since we left Provo,” Chow said in his weekly teleconference. “I had a very good experience in Provo and enjoyed my time there. A lot of nice memories with a lot of nice people. It’s not about that though. We’re at 1-2 and and we’re struggling. We need to play well and the results will take care of themselves if we play well and play hard.”

BYU kicks off against Hawaii at 6 p.m. at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The game can also be seen on ESPN.

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