Senior night can be a bittersweet game every year. It’s the final home game of the regular season, and the last time fans will be able to see some of the players they have grown accustomed to seeing in Provo.
This year, fans will say goodbye to 23 seniors as the BYU Cougars welcome the University of Idaho Vandals on Saturday at 8:15 p.m. in LaVell Edwards Stadium for the final home game of 2012.
The Vandals have had little success recently and are in a state of limbo as their conference, the WAC, will no longer be hosting football after this season.
Idaho has continued to be on the decline in 2012, amassing a 1–8 record that has resulted in Idaho’s head coach, Robb Akey, getting fired, a 33 year old placed as interim head coach and a starting quarterback dismissed from the team.
The Vandals now use both backup quarterbacks, senior Logan Bushnell and junior Taylor Davis, and both players are expected to get playing time in the game against the Cougars.
BYU’s aggressive defense should continue to shine this weekend facing a Vandal offense that ranks 120th in scoring and 112th in total offense this season.
The Vandal defense has not fared any better, ranking 116th in total defense and 118th in scoring defense, giving up 42 points per contest.
“Idaho is a team that has struggled with consistency on both offense and defense,” head coach Bronco Mendenhall said after practice Monday. “In stretches, they show capability and then they’ve had issues turning over the football and maintaining a high level of execution from the beginning of the game to the end of the game, and I think that’s been their biggest challenge.”
The Cougars are sitting with a record of 5–4 coming off of a bye-week and need one more win to become eligible for the San Diego Credit County Poinsettia Bowl.
The Poinsettia Bowl pits BYU against a team from the MWC that currently has four teams tied at top rankings with one loss a piece.
The Cougars do not seem to be too focused on needing this win to become bowl eligible; however, as their remaining two games after the Vandals are also games many expect to be Cougar wins.
Mendenhall expects the team to focus on improving and progressing rather than worrying about becoming bowl eligible.
“We have a lot of work still to do,” he said.
Cougar offensive lineman Braden Hansen, a staple in the BYU line, is still recovering from his injury, and Mendenhall gave no definitive time frame for his return.