Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell Gives BYU’s Sitake Ultimate Praise

Nov 8, 2023, 12:06 PM | Updated: 12:19 pm

PROVO, Utah – It’s been a long time since BYU football squared off against Iowa State in a game. To highlight how long it has been, the two coaches of these programs, the last time they faced each other was a pair of legends.

LaVell Edwards was in the infancy stages of his time as BYU’s legendary coach. For Iowa State, it was another legend, Earle Bruce, who later coached at Ohio State.

BYU is facing Iowa State for the first time since 1974

So yes, it’s been a long time, 49 years, since these two last lined it up. This next meeting will be the first as Big 12 foes.

Saturday night’s coaching matchup might not have the legend status, but it’s two quality head coaches looking to clinch bowl eligibility for their teams.

BYU is led by Kalani Sitake, entering his 100th game as the headman at his alma mater. For Iowa State, it’s Matt Campbell, who, for a while, seemed to be on every big board for a head coaching search. For the moment, both coaches appear to be entrenched in their current gigs. And they each have a lot of respect for one another.

Campbell, a former Division III powerhouse Mount Union player, grew up watching BYU football games when LaVell was roaming the sidelines.

Campbell impressed with the history of BYU football

Back at Big 12 Media Days in July, Campbell expressed his excitement for BYU joining the Big 12. He continued those remarks this week.

“Honestly, to play in this environment, there’s so much history and prestige at BYU,” said Campbell. “I’ll be honest with you: I think we’re all honored and excited to be able to go play in this venue and against this opponent. So, just really excited for our first time out there and to be at night, I know it’s going to be a great environment. We look forward to it.”

Sitake, who loves the history of college football like Campbell, gave high praise to the Cyclones as well in preparation for the matchup.

“When you see what Matt Campbell does as a coach, you see why the program is known for its toughness. That’s in all three phases; that’s the thing that stands out, they play the game with a certain level of toughness, and I’m looking forward to getting our guys to answer because you can see it on film.”

Matt Campbell says he’d be honored to have his sons play for Kalani Sitake

Campbell is the son of a football coach. His father, Rick, was a football coach at Jackson High School in Ohio. Campbell has lived his whole life in the football world. He can spot a good coach when he sees one and he gave the ultimate praise to Kalani Sitake during his weekly press conference.

“I’ve got the utmost respect for their head football coach right now. I’d be honored for [my sons] to play for him,” Campbell said. “Just a lot of respect for this program is about. We know we’ll get their best shot and how they play the game. It’s gonna be a great opportunity but a great challenge for this team.”

Two class acts preparing to square off in an important game for their teams to reach bowl eligibility. It should be a good one under the lights at the stadium, named after a legend who made an impression on both coaches.

BYU vs. Iowa State

Date: Saturday, November 11, 2023

Location: LaVell Edwards Stadium

Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. (MT)


Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM) — Extended pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m.

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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Iowa State Coach Matt Campbell Gives BYU’s Sitake Ultimate Praise