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No. 12 BYU Gears Up For Tough Road Test Against No. 25 Oregon

Sep 12, 2022, 11:34 PM
BYU Football, Brayden Cosper, Oregon...
No. 12 BYU football shifts the attention away from the big win over Baylor to now the No. 25 Oregon Ducks. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)
(Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – The highs of the win over Baylor are now in the rearview mirror for No. 12 BYU football as they shift their focus to the Oregon Ducks.

Entering Saturday’s matinee at Autzen Stadium (1:30 p.m, FOX, KSL NewsRadio), No. 25 Oregon is a bit of a mystery.

Oregon went down into Atlanta to open the season and was crushed by the defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs, 49-3. Then last Saturday, the Ducks showed the high-flying firepower folks typically associate with Oregon.

Oregon put up 70 points on FCS powerhouse Eastern Washington. The jury is still out on what Oregon is under first-year coach Dan Lanning. But as BYU coach Kalani Sitake would tell you, this Oregon program is not one to take lightly. Oregon enters the game by many projection services as the favorite over BYU, despite the higher ranking for the Cougs.

No shortage of talent on Oregon’s roster

“Just watching Oregon on film — a great team with a lot of talent. You look at that coaching staff, I know a lot of the coaches personally, and the ones I don’t know have great reputations in the game of football and coaching,” said Sitake. “So I know that watching the film, they are well coached. They made a huge improvement from week one to week two in their level of execution. … To score [70 points] on a team like [Eastern Washington], that’s tough and well coached, that has our attention.”

To highlight the talent of the Ducks, Oregon checks in at No. 7 in the 247Sports Team Talent Composite rankings. Oregon has five 5-star recruits and 47 4-star prospects on the roster. By comparison, BYU is 107th.

BYU’s trip to Autzen Stadium on Saturday will be the first visit to Eugene since 1990. The last time BYU was at Autzen Stadium, the Cougars were riding high, ranked No. 4 in the polls after wins over No. 1 Miami and Washington State, before collapsing to an unranked Ducks squad coached by Rich Brooks.

BYU will look to avoid a similar fate on Saturday afternoon after they pulled off their first win over a Top 10 team in Provo since that Miami win.

“You get back on it,” Sitake said after moving past the highs of the Baylor win. “We have a veteran group that’s used to the weekly grind of football, and you get over it, and you learn.”

BYU football teams put Baylor win in the rearview mirror

That’s a similar message BYU football players shared on Monday during the weekly press conference.

“You can’t sit on your wins for too long,” said BYU linebacker Ben Bywater. “We’ll enjoy it for 24 hours, but then we’re right back to the drawing board Monday morning. It was a huge win, and it will be a memory for me and Cougar Nation for a long time, but it’s about Oregon this week.”

Sitake’s group is one of the most experienced teams in college football this season. Many of the key contributors on this BYU squad were part of the perfect 5-0 run the Cougars had against Pac-12 teams a season ago. But that doesn’t appear to be a motivator for Sitake’s crew.

“I don’t think anybody’s thought about that until you said it,” Sitake said to KSL Sports. “I haven’t even thought about it. Our team doesn’t think like that. We’re just happy to play another game. I’m not going to go into all the side stories and stuff like that. We’re going to be focused on this game, this opponent, this week and what we see on film is a really talented football team with really great quality of coaches.”

KSL Sports will be in Eugene, covering the Top 25 clash between BYU and Oregon. KSL NewsRadio extended pregame will begin at 10 a.m. (MT) from Eugene.

No. 12 BYU at No. 25 Oregon

Location: Autzen Stadium (Eugene, Oregon)

Kickoff: 1:30 p.m. (MT)

TV: FOX

Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM – Extended pregame begins at 10 a.m.)

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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