Cougar football has its work cut out for them on Saturday as they square off against the Texas Longhorns.
Traditional powerhouse Texas has endured some broken parts in the last few seasons. This year, the Longhorns come to Provo looking like they have put the pieces together again. The team returns 19 starters from last year, is ranked 15th in the AP poll, gathered 715 yards and dropped 56 points on New Mexico State last week.
Meanwhile, BYU has lost six games in a row against ranked teams. Texas boasts an 11-game win streak on the road against non-conference foes. Yet after a tough loss in the opener against Virginia, offense coordinator Robert Anae is hopeful about the upcoming matchup.
“We’ve all challenged ourselves to put last week’s game behind us,” he said. “I’m looking forward to doing way better than our first effort.”
Offensive lineman Ryker Mathews expressed the general dissatisfaction the team feels since Saturday’s loss.
“We didn’t play like we should have,” he said. “We’ve all had a little bit of a chip on our shoulder and want to make a difference and play better.”
Although BYU’s hyped “go fast, go hard,” offense struggled in week one, Anae said the unit needs to simply stay the course.
“Nothing is changing other than our determination to get better at what we’re doing,” he said.
If there’s one player who particularly wants to come out with a win against Texas, it’s junior receiver Ross Apo, who originally committed to play for the Longhorns before committing to BYU. When the two teams squared off two years ago, he caught the only BYU touchdown in a painful 17-16 loss.
“Whatever it takes, however we can beat them, I just want to beat them,” Apo said.
A Cougar loss would put the program at 0-2 on the year – a place it hasn’t been since 1995. If BYU finds a way to win, however, players and fans might just forget about the opening day loss to Virginia.