BYU COUGARS

For Sitake, Utah Isn’t ‘Just Another Game’

Nov 19, 2018, 4:25 PM | Updated: Nov 23, 2018, 10:41 am
Brigham Young Cougars head coach Kalani Sitaki sings the fight song after beating the McNeese State...
Brigham Young Cougars head coach Kalani Sitaki sings the fight song after beating the McNeese State Cowboys in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2018. BYU won 30-3. (Jeff Allred, Deseret News)
(Jeff Allred, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – The fans know it, the players know it, and the BYU coaching staff knows it. Cougar head coach and former Utah assistant Kalani Sitake said Saturday’s matchup with Utah is, “not another game.”

“It’s really competitive. I think there’s a lot of people who care about it. We definitely do. This is an important game to me, an important game to our coaches, our administration, (and) our fans especially. Our players are excited for his game,” said Sitake.

Playing A Full 60 Minutes Is Key

With the pressure of a seven-game losing streak to Utah on their backs, the Cougars are looking for a different outcome to the game this year. Even though they became bowl eligible with a win over New Mexico State last week, Sitake and his players are considering the game against the Utes to be the most important game of the year.

One of the keys, according to Sitake, will be playing a full 60 minutes of great football, which includes getting off to a good start.

“We’re always working constantly to try to get the perfect game, and it would be a good time to start fast and finish strong and play all 60 minutes as we could,” he said at his Monday press conference in Provo.

Sitake, who has extensive experience playing and coaching in the rivalry game, said it would be a good time for the Cougars to play their best game of the year.

No Problem Being The Underdog

So far this season, the Cougars’ best games have come on the road when they’ve been considered to be underdogs. Wins over Arizona and Wisconsin are evidence of that phenomenon. As for why that’s the case, Sitake isn’t sure, but he’s fine being the visiting underdog.

“Not a lot of people are picking us to win,” admitted Sitake. “That’s okay. I don’t mind being in this position.”

Led By Wilson, Cougars Are Confident

Both teams will be led by quarterbacks who have yet to play in the rivalry matchup. The Utes have redshirt freshman Jason Shelley under center, while the Cougars will be receiving signals and passes from true freshman Zach Wilson. Although he has just five starts under his belt, the Cougars are confident that Wilson can be effective in a hostile environment on Saturday.

“I’m excited for Zach. He’s gotten better each week,” said wide receiver Micah Simon. “He’s made mistakes but that’s how it is in the game of football. He’s learned from the mistakes and he’s continued to prepare and continued to put himself in a position to make plays. I’m excited for him. I’m confident in him to lead us.”

Sitake OK With The Pressure

It’s not just Wilson who will be facing pressure on Saturday. It will to be tough for the entire team. Sitake, who played in the rivalry game from 1998-2000, knows it well and that sits just fine with him.

“It’s just not another game,” said Sitake. “It’s the most important game of our season right now and that’s our approach. I think it adds a lot of pressure (and) expectations on our players and I’m okay with it.”

  • BYU Cougars Scoreboard

  • BYU Cougars Team Leaders

  • BYU Cougars Standings

BYU Cougars

Brigham Young Cougars guard Dallin Hall (30) lays the ball up during a NCAA basketball game at the ...
Matt Baiamonte

BYU Basketball Questions Answered In Win Against LMU

Considering the circumstances of the three game losing streak, the win against LMU goes down as the best win of the season for BYU basketball.
2 days ago
BYU Basketball, LMU, Fousseyni Traore...
Mitch Harper

Instant Takeaways From BYU’s 89-61 Win Over LMU

BYU basketball rolls through LMU to return to 5-5 in West Coast Conference play.
2 days ago
NFL-Pro-Bowl-Football-Logo...
Kyle Ireland

Tyler Huntley Helps AFC Take Early Lead Over Fred Warner, NFC At Pro Bowl Games

Former Utah QB Tyler Huntley helped the AFC take an early lead over former BYU LB Fred Warner and the NFC at the Pro Bowl Games.
2 days ago
BYU Football, David Latu, Signing Day...
Mitch Harper

BYU Football Recruit Announces Commitment At Father’s Grave

David Latu had one of the more emotional Signing Day announcements you'll watch.
3 days ago
BYU Football - Royal Virgil Helmet...
Mitch Harper

Former Stanford Commit LJ Martin Signs With BYU Football

BYU picked up a talented running back from Texas on Signing Day.
3 days ago
BYU Football, Big 12 Schedule...
Mitch Harper

Five Takeaways From BYU Football’s Inaugural Big 12 Schedule

The key takeaways from BYU's inaugural Big 12 Conference schedule.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.
Jordan-Clarkson-Utah-Jazz...
KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.
Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...
KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.
ksl sports logos...
KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.
jimmy-buffett-tour-art...
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Jimmy Buffett

Get your Hawaiian shirts ready.
Iron Maiden tour...
KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden returns to Utah in 2022 with The Legacy of the Beast tour.
For Sitake, Utah Isn’t ‘Just Another Game’