BYU Football Set To ‘Embrace The Night’ For West Virginia Game

Oct 31, 2023, 1:00 PM | Updated: 1:02 pm

PROVO, Utah – The way BYU football plays in day games compared to the night has produced some frightening results.

Since 2019, BYU is 15-15 in games that kickoff before 6 p.m. For matchups after 6? They are 26-3.

That’s a big difference. So whenever a kick time is announced, BYU fans are probably hoping for a night game. The good thing for them is that this week’s matchup at West Virginia is at 7 p.m. (eastern time), 5 p.m. in Utah. But these stats are based on the clock where the game is being played.

That means a late night in Morgantown, West Virginia.

“That’s right up our alley, man. Here we go,” said Kalani Sitake. “So yeah, it’s just time to go embrace the night. I’m excited about the game.”

The staggering difference in performance has been something that Cougar Sports Saturday producer Nate Slack has been tracking for the past four years. It picked up a lot of steam on Reddit when a Reddit user deemed BYU as a “Vampire team” for their struggles in the daytime.

BYU LB Max Tooley doesn’t agree with the “Vampire” comparison

BYU senior linebacker Max Tooley wants to put the Vampire talk to rest.

“Touching on that vampire theory first, I personally don’t buy into all of that. When it comes down to it, both teams have to start the game at the same time, they both have to get up and prepare that morning and whatnot,” Tooley said. “So, I feel like it’s fair grounds on both sides of the ball. You can’t really use [day games] as an excuse.”

BYU football has played tougher teams in the day, especially in 2023

Part of the struggles in day games does have to be attributed to the enhanced level of competition. BYU faced No. 7 Texas last week in an afternoon tilt that pulled in 2.4 million viewers. It’s not often you get a Top-10 team playing in the fourth time slot.

“We’ve lost three games this year. They happen to be on the road,” Sitake said. “It’s tough to play on the road in this conference. We didn’t perform at our best against the team that was in the National Championship last year. Then the other two teams that we lost to: one is ranked in the Top 25, and the other is in the Top 10. That’s the reality of it all. Whether it was in the High Noon, in the middle of the night, or three in the morning. I don’t know if that has any bearing on it. We’re adjusting our schedule to make sure that there’s nothing that’s going to be the blame for it.”

To avoid any blame, BYU will have to get through a West Virginia team that is coming off a win last week at UCF.

The Mountaineers, who were the preseason last-place pick in the Big 12, have exceeded everyone’s expectations jumping out to a 5-3 start with one more win needed to nail down a spot in the bowl season. That adds an extra element of intensity to the game, as the same applies to BYU. The Cougars need one more win to secure a bowl berth and postseason practices in their first Big 12 season.

“I’m looking forward to going up to West Virginia, playing a little night game a little later in the day. That’s been our bread and butter in the past,” said Tooley. “We’ve done really well at night. So hopefully, we can just keep it going into this game.”

BYU vs. West Virginia

Date: Saturday, November 4, 2023

Location: Milan Puskar Stadium

Kickoff: 5 p.m.


Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM) — Extended pregame coverage begins at Noon

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Football Set To ‘Embrace The Night’ For West Virginia Game