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Kalani Sitake Needs A Signature Win At LaVell Edwards Stadium

Head coach Kalani Sitake of the Brigham Young Cougars watches from the sidelines during the second half of the college football game against the Arizona Wildcats at University of Phoenix Stadium on September 3, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cougars defeated the Wildcats 18-16. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – Head Coach Kalani Sitake and BYU Football did it again. The Cougars beat another “Power 5” college football name brand opponent away from home. The latest triumph, a stunning 29-26 2OT victory in front of more than 90,000 fans at Tennessee’s historic Neyland Stadium.

You can now add that win over the Volunteers to a growing list of impressive road victories in the Kalani Sitake era

BYU has gone to Lansing, Michigan… and won. Madison, Wisconsin… and won, and just left Knoxville with a “W.”

Yes indeed, the Cougars certainly know how to win a big road game. In fact, the Cougars have won 7 of the last 10 games AWAY from LaVell Edwards Stadium

Now compare that to what BYU has done in the last 10 HOME games. Let’s see…  4 wins, 6 losses. Woof. Therein lies the next major hurdle for Sitake and the Cougars

The fourth year head coach’s Cougars went 5-1 at home in his first year, but have been 5-8 since. In that time, BYU is 1-5 against Power 5 teams at home, and 0-2 against ranked teams.

‘Protect LaVell’s House’

Those three words, “Protect LaVell’s House,” hang on a plaque of “BYU Football pillars” near Sitake’s office. It’s a stark, constant reminder of what the Cougars have NOT done recently – win at home.

Upon review of each and every home win BYU Football has earned in the Sitake era, a question arose in my mind

What’s the best home win Kalani Sitake has experienced?”

The answer is… gulp… probably a 2OT victory vs. Mississippi State in 2016. A Power 5 team, yes, but the Bulldogs were 5-7 that season. The next best? Toledo. Double woof.

Here’s the bottom line.

As good as Sitake and BYU have been in storied road venues, they have yet to earn that big-time signature win at home

It’s long overdue and not for a lack of opportunities (UCLA, Utah 2x, Wisconsin, Boise State to name a few), but a loaded 2019 home schedule has the Cougars positioned nicely to change the narrative.

They lost to ranked Utah, but the next three home games bring currently-ranked teams to Provo, with No. 24 USC, No. 23 Washington and No. 22 Boise State.

Opportunity 1: Utah

Well… so much for that. The Cougars missed their initial shot for a signature home victory when nationally-ranked Utah took advantage of three BYU turnovers and won a 9th straight match-up against their long-time rivals in Provo, 30-12.

Opportunity 2: USC

Here come the 24th ranked Trojans this Saturday, September 14, after wins over Fresno State and Stanford in the Coliseum. This will mark the first road test in 2019 for storied S.C., and the first road start for 18-years-young quarterback Kedon Slovis.

Can BYU create enough turbulence to rattle the freshman QB at LaVell Edwards Stadium to get Sitake that elusive signature win

Opportunity 3: Washington

The Huskies lost a wealth of talent to the NFL Draft and just lost to a stingy Cal-Berkeley team, but head coach Chris Petersen and his team seem more determined than ever to get back to another Pac-12 title game after being picked to finish second behind Utah

A win over Petersen and the Huskies would give BYU at least a 2-2 start and some desperately needed home mojo.

Opportunity 4: Boise State

Here is the most realistic opportunity, it would seem, for the Sitake-led BYU Cougars to finally win a big one at home.

The Broncos are currently ranked in the Top 25, 2-0, but have looked vulnerable against a marginal Florida State team, and in a sloppy 14-7 home win vs. Marshall.  The Broncos also have a freshman quarterback and a new running back. The last time Boise State brought a similar QB-RB situation to Provo, the Cougars beat the Broncos by 17 (2013)

Let’s also throw in this little nugget. If BYU does not win at least one of the next three home games, all against currently ranked opponents, the Cougars will finish with a losing record at home in 2019

It’s simple. “Protect LaVell’s House” begins with the Cougars winning one of the next three, and finally bringing Sitake a home signature win.

For BYU to net Sitake’s second winning record at home in four years, the Cougars have to beat both Libert and Idaho State, PLUS beat two of the next three ranked opponents.

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