In last year’s contest against Boise State, BYU quarterback Taysom Hill came off the bench to help ignite a Cougar offense that couldn’t gain any traction. A failed two-point conversion following the only offensive touchdown of the game proved to be costly, as BYU lost 7–6.
“I am expecting something very different this year,” said BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall. “Boise State is completely different offensively than they were a year ago and with an entirely different system. They are scoring a lot more points, and I think they are more potent. But I think that we are better as well. I wouldn’t anticipate 7–6. I don’t know what the score will be, but it probably won’t be duplicating that one.”
With the game against the Broncos scheduled for Friday night, BYU has a short week to recover from an intense battle last week. The Cougars beat Houston 47–46 in a neck-and-neck game that featured 115 offensive plays by BYU and lasted more than four hours.
“It was a draining experience,” Mendenhall said. “Every emotion was exhibited by not only myself but our team as well. We overcame a lot of adversity, and we made a lot of plays. We created some turnovers and made some mistakes. But ultimately, after 115 plays on offense and about 82 plays on defense and about four hours later, we made enough plays to win the game.”
A growing concern for the Cougars is the workload sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill is shouldering. Against Houston, Hill threw the ball 44 times and ran with the ball 34 times. Being the main ball-handler in that many plays creates a high risk of injury for a player BYU can hardly afford to lose.
“It does start to take a toll on everybody, I think. But again, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to win the football game,” Hill said. “Saturday night I was okay, but Sunday morning I woke up, and I was really sore. But nothing major. You can imagine how I felt after a game like that.”
Boise State comes into Provo after losing its starting quarterback to a broken ankle against Nevada last week. Quarterback Grant Hedrick will start for the Broncos after being a backup for the first half of the season. Hedrick threw for 150 yards and rushed for 114 more in relief against Nevada and led his team to the come-from-behind, 34–17 victory.
“They’re a good football team. They have a young quarterback and a veteran receiver corps,” said BYU cornerback Mike Hague. “They’ve got running backs that run really hard and a heck of a coaching staff. We match them on everything: our coaching staff is great, our scheme is great and we have some good personnel as well. It’s going to be a battle.”
The two teams meet Friday night at Lavell Edwards Stadium. Kickoff is at 6 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN.