BYU hoping for different result in season-opener

PROVO, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - It was not the way BYU planned on starting the season. The Cougars looked lost, confused and inept against a Virginia team that won just two games the entire season.

The 19-16 loss was a result that caught BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall completely off guard.

"It's always difficult to tell exactly where you are going into the opener," Mendenhall said. "But I was shocked that we didn't score a bunch of points in our opener last year based on how our offense had moved the ball against our defense. Any loss has more value than a win. The lessons hurt and they're applied usually faster. But in the opener, there's usually uncertainty."

As they get ready for the 2014 opener at Connecticut Friday night, BYU feels they are better prepared and deeper despite the loss of at least three players due to suspensions.

"I feel like it's kind of different this year with the depth that we have on offense and all the positions," said wide receiver Ross Apo. "I think we have a lot more guys ready. And hopefully we won't have to play in a hurricane."

That 2-hour, 9-minute lightning delay last year couldn't have helped the Cougars cause, but that loss to the Cavaliers kind of set the tone to what was a disappointing season. This year, BYU is looking to build momentum right from the get go as they try to avoid their third straight 1-2 start.

"Definitely," said fullback Paul Lasike. "It's a chance to get off on the right foot for the whole season. If we start out with a win, we'll kind of get off on the front foot leading into the next game and the next game. So it's going to be important to start out with the momentum."

BYU and UConn play Friday night in Hartford beginning at 5:00 p.m.

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