PROVO — All BYU sophomore tight end Hunter Marshall knows about the rivalry with Utah is what he’s heard about it from others.
Marshall, a transfer from Snow Junior College, hails from Atlanta, Georgia, and after high school in 2012, he redshirted at Georgia Tech.
That is his rivalry reference point.
“Back home, we have the Georgia-Georgia Tech rivalry. I got to be a part of that,” said the 6-foot-3, 242-pounder who served a mission between stints at Georgia Tech and Snow. “I kind of understand it a little bit. I heard Utah’s a little more intense with how competitive they are and that the fan base can be a little crazy. There’s going to be a lot of energy and it's going to be a lot of fun.”
Then, he added with a laugh, “My teammates said to prepare mentally for a lot of verbal abuse. It’s going to be a hostile environment. We’ve just got to play our game and focus on what we need to do.”
Another newcomer in the BYU-Utah game is another Snow College transfer, 6-foot, 190-pound junior wide receiver Jonah Trinnaman.
But because he’s from American Fork, he knows all about the rivalry.
In fact, Trinnaman committed to BYU early on, then coach Bronco Mendenhall announced he was leaving for Virginia. At that point, he wondered about becoming a Cougar. Former BYU wide receivers coach Guy Holliday was hired at Utah and he started recruiting Trinnaman.
“I was still committed to BYU. I would have de-committed if I really was going to go to Utah,” Trinnaman said. “I like Guy Holliday a lot. He’s a good guy. When Bronco left, it was kind of a weird time for me. I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do and what kind of offense I wanted to play in. (Offensive coordinator) Ty Detmer and those guys came down and talked me into coming here. I felt good about it.”
Saturday, Trinnaman and Marshall will be on the opposite sideline from former Snow JC teammate Garett Bolles, who is now a Utah offensive lineman.
Both Trinnaman and Marshall enjoyed solid debuts as Cougars last Saturday in BYU’s 18-16 victory over Arizona. Trinnaman caught a team-high six passes for 49 yards while Marshall caught two passes for 29 yards.
While the speedy Trinnaman has the ability to stretch the field, the Cougar offense is working to make the tight end a weapon in the offense again. Last Saturday, Marshall showed glimpses of his potential.
“A lot of people were interested in how the tight ends would do,” Marshall said. “I thought Tanner (Balderree) and I played a good game. It’s fun working with Detmer and (tight ends) coach (Steve) Clark is a great coach. There are a lot of things to improve on.”
Quarterback Taysom Hill liked the production from Marshall and Balderree at tight end.
“It was great. I thought Ty called an excellent game where we really dictated what we wanted up front and we were able to get out on the edge,” he said. “We were able to stay out of a lot of straight drop backs which I think was a strength of Arizona’s defense with their ability to get up the field and pressure on the edge. We neutralized all of that and the tight ends were a big part of us being successful in doing that.”
Though Saturday marks their first BYU-Utah rivalry game, both Marshall and Trinnaman could make an impact.
BYU (1-0) at Utah (1-0)
Saturday, 5:30 p.m. MDT, Rice-Eccles Stadium
Radio: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM