PROVO — Earlier in the week, coach Bronco Mendenhall said he doesn't regret, or apologize for, scheduling a team from the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision — more commonly known as Division I-AA.
After the Cougars manhandled Eastern Washington 42-7 Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium, he reaffirmed that stance. He only wishes that the game could have been played earlier in the season.
"The thing I question most is the timing of it. If it was the first or the second game, I think it would have a lot of merit," Mendenhall said. "But when you interrupt conference play, that's where it becomes problematic for both sides. I don't have an issue with the game itself, but the timing of it. Now that I've seen it, I'll do everything I can to alter that next time."
Mendenhall said his team paid the Eagles respect during the week of preparation leading up to the game, despite Eastern Washington's lower-tier status.
"I think the team took them seriously right from the beginning," Mendenhall said. "I have a lot of respect for Eastern Washington."
INJURY REPORT: Garrett Reden, a 6-foot-3, 290-pound freshman offensive lineman from Valley Center, Calif., suffered a fractured ankle in the second half. Team trainers and doctors rushed onto the field as soon as it happened.
Saturday marked Reden's first career start. He started at left guard in place of Ray Feinga, who was suspended from the game for violating unspecified team rules.
"Garrett has really stepped up when we needed him to," said quarterback Max Hall. "He's been a great lineman for us. He's a great guy. To see him go down like that, a lot of guys on the team took that kind of hard. We're sad for him. But hopefully next year he'll be back."
Freshman Walter Kahaialii took Reden's spot in the lineup.
PUTTING "SPECIAL" IN SPECIAL TEAMS: Bryce Mahuika had three kickoff returns for 136 yards, including a career-high 61-yarder. He also had four punt returns for 44 yards, including a 25-yarder. Meanwhile, redshirt freshman Tyler Kozlowski, the son of former Cougar great Glen Kozlowski, blocked an EWU punt late in the third quarter.
WILD, WACKY WEATHER: Saturday's game featured rain, sun and, finally, snow. By the end of the game, snow flurries obscured the playing field and had fans streaming for the exits.
BYU linebacker David Nixon said he doesn't mind the cold weather.
"It's the game of football, so we go out there and play regardless of the weather or what's going on around us," he said. "Every game is a big one for us. If anything, it got us a little excited to play in some snow finally. It's been a while since we've played in the snow."