BYU eyes payback against No. 22 Washington

Field Level Media

September 17, 2019 at 11:40 pm.

The Brigham Young football team hasn’t forgotten its trip to Seattle last season.

The Cougars were ranked No. 20 at the time but suffered a 35-7 defeat to Washington and dropped out of the polls, never to return. The rematch is Saturday in Provo, Utah, with BYU having a chance to knock the No. 22 Huskies out of the rankings.

“That was a great learning experience for us last year and we are looking to see how much we learned from that and how much we learned from last week’s (30-27 overtime victory against No. 24 USC) and seeing how we match up,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said.

The Huskies graduated four-year starters in quarterback Jake Browning and running back Myles Gaskin from last year’s squad, but they are 2-1.

“I mean, there are a lot of returning players, but there are a lot of different pieces to it,” Sitake said.

“I have a lot of respect for coach (Chris) Petersen because he can get that group ready. That’s what they do; guys graduate and get drafted, and then they bring more guys in and it is like they don’t even miss a beat.”

Since a season-opening loss to rival Utah, the Cougars (2-1) have rebounded with victories at Tennessee and against USC.

“That Tennessee game they came back out of nowhere and got it done. Little bit of the ‘SC thing as well,” Petersen said.

Jake Oldroyd’s 43-yard field goal in overtime gave BYU a 30-27 victory against the Trojans.

Zach Wilson led the Cougars, completing 20 of 33 passes for 280 yards and a touchdown.

Sophomore receiver Gunner Romney, who had three catches for 54 yards against USC, said last year’s game against Washington provides “huge motivation.”

“I mean, you always want to prove yourself against everybody, but especially against the team that got the better of you the year before,” Romney said. “You have that extra motivation to come out and work hard because you don’t want to have it happen again. … We want to be able to come out on top this year.”

Ty’Son Williams, who rushed for 99 yards and a touchdown against USC, said the Cougars practiced the “24-hour rule” after last Saturday’s victory.

“You celebrate it, you enjoy the victory, but once Monday comes around you are ready to get back to work,” said Williams, a graduate transfer from South Carolina who has a team-best 236 yards. “College football is a one-week season.”

The Huskies know that feeling. After opening with a victory against Eastern Washington, they suffered a 20-19 loss at home against California in a game that didn’t end until 1:30 a.m. because of a 2 1/2-hour weather delay.

Washington bounced back with a 52-20 victory against Hawaii as Jacob Eason completed 18 of 25 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns, and Richard Newton added three short TD runs.

Senior safety Myles Bryant had four tackles, two interceptions and a sack to be named the Pac-12 Conference’s Defensive Player of the Week.

The Huskies will be making their first road trip of the season.

“There’s no place like home for sure, but it’ll be good,” Petersen said. “It’s exciting, first time to go on the road in a really cool venue, really good opponent, all those things. So we’re excited.”

Petersen downplayed his team having to play at altitude — Provo is 4,550 feet above sea level.

“That’s never bothered us,” Petersen said. “Maybe kickers like it more. Other than that I don’t think it impacts anything.”