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Y. reschedules Bulldogs for Dec. 1

SHARE Y. reschedules Bulldogs for Dec. 1

PROVO — Thanks to Hawaii's willingness to push back its game against BYU one week, the Cougars will play Mississippi State this season, after all.

It's finally official — BYU will take on the Bulldogs in Starkville, Miss., on Dec. 1 and visit the Warriors in Honolulu on Dec. 8, BYU athletic director Val Hale announced on Wednesday.

Game times and television information have yet to be determined. Both contests are expected to kick off in the afternoon and the BYU-Hawaii game could be televised on either ESPN or ESPN2.

"We are very appreciative to everyone who helped make these changes possible," Hale said. "This has been a very cooperative effort from everyone involved. (Commissioner) Craig Thompson at the Mountain West Conference office has gone above and beyond the call of duty to work out the details and push the right buttons to make this happen."

Hale expressed gratitude to Hawaii athletic director Hugh Yoshida and Mississippi State athletic director Larry Templeton, as well as ESPN, for making the rescheduling possible.

BYU was originally slated to face Mississippi State on Sept. 15, but the game was called off due to the terrorist attacks on the United States on Sept. 11. The Cougars were scheduled to play Hawaii on Dec. 1.

For BYU, rescheduling Mississippi State has been a high priority. The No. 20 Cougars are off to a 3-0 start and they need the game against the Southeastern Conference school to boost their strength of schedule. BYU's first three opponents — Tulane, Nevada and California — have a combined 1-9 record so far this season.

The Bulldogs (1-1) are ranked No. 21 after losing at home to South Carolina (now No. 15) Thursday, Sept. 20. This week, Mississippi State travels to No. 2 Florida.

Cougar quarterback Brandon Doman doesn't think Mississippi State's early-season loss to South Carolina takes any luster off the December game. "They beat us last year. That was embarrassing," said Doman, referring to the Bulldogs' 44-28 victory over the Cougars last September in Provo. "We'd like to go play them and redeem ourselves."

INJURY FRONT: BYU's extended layoff has allowed Cougar players to heal from assorted bumps and bruises sustained the first three weeks of the season.

But last Friday, sophomore defensive lineman Ifo Pili began to feel a sharp pain in his mouth that was unrelated to football. Pili went to the dentist this week and learned he had an infected wisdom tooth that must be pulled. The procedure would require Pili missing three to four days of football, so he decided to endure the pain and defer treatment until, perhaps, after the season.

Pili said the soreness won't negatively affect his play but admitted, "It hurts to eat."

Asked if the discomfort that results from eating would cause him to lose weight, the 6-foot-3, 310-pound Pili replied with a smile, "There's never going to be a problem maintaining my playing weight."

TURNOVER TALK: With no turnovers in the past two games, BYU has played back-to-back games without a turnover for the first time since 1994. The Cougars have never gone three straight games without a turnover.

RED HOT: BYU is a perfect 17-for-17 inside the red zone (20 yard line) this season — 15 touchdowns and two field goals.

E-MAIL: jeffc@desnews.com