"We're gonna show 'em we ain't afraid," said running back Jamaal Williams.
The Cougars certainly weren't scared a year ago in Provo. They steamrolled the Longhorns for a school record 550 yards on the ground in route to a convincing 40-21 win. BYU quarterback Taysom Hill rushed for 259 yards and three touchdowns.
It was the most rushing yards Texas has ever given up in 120 years of playing football, and after the game defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was fired.
This time around, the Longhorns and new head coach Charlie Strong are seeking payback.
"That will be the story all week of what happened last year," said BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall. "But I don't think from a coach's perspective that will affect the outcome of the game at all. Certainly the media, certainly the fans and those around it but ultimately we've got to get prepared to play a football game. We're anxious to play I'm looking forward to the challenge."
"It's football, you know," said Williams. "People have certain games they look forward to. This might be there's, but every game for us is circled. No matter what last year was, this is a new year and we're not going to dwell on the past. We're going to make our new future right now."
Last year's result turned heads across the country and this rematch will be a great opportunity for the independent cougars to show they can play with the power conference big boys.
"Now they look at us and they know we're not the underdogs no more," Williams said. "They know they've got to play us like we're a big team and we are a big team so it's going to be a great game."
"When we went independent, the idea was to play the best teams on the biggest stages in front of the most people," Mendenhall said. "This is a great chance to do that."
Texas will be without three starting offensive lineman. Center Dom Espinosa suffered an ankle injury, while tackles Desmond Harrison and Kennedy Estelle were suspended from the team Wednesday.
Not to mention senior quarterback David Ash after suffering a concussion in the opener against North Texas. That means sophomore Tyrone Swoops, who has thrown a total of 13 passes, will make his first career start against the Cougars.
"Man, I thought Ash was a really good player," said head coach Bronco Mendenhall. "But it is the University of Texas and I'm sure they have a really good backup. We've actually seen his film through the spring game and he played some of the bowl game. He's so fast, athletic and big, just what you'd expect in a really quality program."
Texas doesn't seem too worried about having to play their backup quarterback.
"The thing about Tyrone is we're going to have to tweak it offensively some," said Texas head coach Charlie Strong. "I don't know how much, but our offensive coaches are setting that right now. We were able to get a start on that yesterday. Tyrone can handle it. I'm not concerned about that and the team will rally around him."
The Cougars are going to rally around five players who missed the season-opening win over UConn because of suspension, namely Williams, who isn't going to let a minor knee injury slow him down.
"I'm good and ready to go," Williams said. "I'm just excited. Injuries don't mean anything when you get a chance to play."
Also expected to play are wide receiver Devon Blackmon, defensive tackle Marques Johnson and starting cornerbacks Jordan Johnson and Rob Daniel.
"Man, I'm so confident in what our depth looks like out there and the competition it provides," said Mendenhall. "So we get Jordan Johnson and Rob Daniel back, that is a day by day thing and will be the entire season in terms of behavior and what they have to do to live up to the contracts they have with me."
BYU and 24th-ranked Texas will play at Darrell Royal Stadium Saturday at 5:30 p.m. mountain time.
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