Tech

No. 22 BYU rocking and rolling to 2-0 start, hosts LA Tech

The BYU Cougars are working on new offensive wrinkles and introducing old-school dance moves.

Anything to keep No. 22 BYU in rhythm.

Caught dancing on the sideline by the cameras, the Cougars (2-0) now have the green light to keep on rocking as they roll up 51.5 points a game.

Hey, whatever moves them heading into a game Friday night against Louisiana Tech (2-0) at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah.

“We’re going to turn up the dancing even more now that everyone is giving it so much attention,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake joked. “I just want my guys to enjoy the moment and have fun with the game. We’re just trying to keep our guys loose.”

This week, Sitake said he introduced the players to the Cabbage Patch, a dance move straight out of the 1980s.

“I thought it would be fun to teach them some old-school moves that we did back when I was younger,” Sitake said. “This year it’s just getting attention because there is nothing else to look at with no fans in the stands.”

Brace for an offensive showdown as both teams can move the football. The Cougars are second in the nation in scoring. The Bulldogs check in at 48.5 points a game, which is the sixth-best figure.

LA Tech is off to a torrid start, rallying from a 17-point deficit to beat Southern Miss 31-30 on Sept. 19 and routing Houston Baptist 66-38 last weekend.

“It’s been anything but normal to get to where we are right now,” Bulldogs coach Skip Holtz said. “I’ve been excited about the way they’ve answered the first two challenges, but certainly understanding the challenge we have this week with BYU.”

The Cougars are trying to tune out the national attention after their fast start.

“When we come to the office, we need to erase those pressures going on inside and focus on what we are doing here,” defensive lineman Zac Dawe said. “That’s where the poison kicks in. We can’t focus on the environment and all the external things going on.”

RANKED TEAMS

Louisiana Tech has four wins over Top-25 teams. The last one was a 48-45 win over No. 25 Navy during the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 23, 2016.

“They’re a very physical team,” Bulldogs freshman linebacker Tyler Grubbs said. “As a linebacker, when you hear they’re going to run the ball a lot you always look forward to it. You know it’s going to be a hard-nosed game and you’re going to feel it the next day.”

FLASHY NUMBERS

The Cougars are outscoring teams by a 103-10 margin. They’re also averaging 622 total yards on offense and allowing just 165 on defense.

That definitely caught the attention of Holtz.

“It’s just gaudy,” Holtz said. “They’re a fun team to watch play because they are so well-coached. There are not a lot of holes. This isn’t a gimmick game. This isn’t a scheme game. This is a game you’re going to have to line up and earn it.

“A lot of people have said it’s one of the better BYU teams they’ve had in quite a while.”

PLANNING AND MORE PLANNING

Sitake said game planning is challenging given the uncertainty around COVID-19 testing. The Cougars postponed a game at Army earlier this season because of a small outbreak.

“You’re doing a depth chart, trying to get practice ready and having anxiety over a test result,” Sitake said.

They cross-train more than ever. For example, the linebackers are versed in multiple spots – just in case.

“We usually cross-train in spring quite a bit, but now it is part of everyday football in the year 2020,” Sitake said.

THE MAILMAN

Many sports fans in Utah are familiar with Louisiana Tech. After all, it’s the college of longtime Jazz great Karl Malone.

This was Grubbs’ take on BYU: “Very big players, very physical team, beautiful stadium, great program. That’s how we take it when we knew we were going to play BYU.”

REBOUND

BYU returner/receiver Dax Milne muffed a punt early in the Troy game. He rebounded to catch seven passes for 140 yards and a score.

“It was kind of a roller coaster as far as from where my head was at,” Milne said. “I don’t know why I muffed that punt but it happened. … Soon as I came off the field, everyone just told me they had my back and to not worry about it.”

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More AP college football: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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