PROVO — As Utah was making its second-half comeback against BYU last November, flipping a 27-7 deficit into a 35-27 victory, Cougar outside linebacker Zayne Anderson stood helplessly on the sidelines at Rice-Eccles Stadium. 

“It was the worst. It was freezing cold. It was tough watching your guys and knowing you can’t do anything about it,” the 6-2, 215-pound senior said. “It was frustrating. I knew I’d be able to play them again in the first game. As the clock was ticking down, I knew I’d get them again.”

Anderson’s wait is almost over. And this time, he’ll be on the field. 

The Cougars and Utes renew their rivalry Thursday at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Last season, Anderson played in only four games before undergoing shoulder surgery. 

“It’s been a long, long year. It’s made me hungry,” Anderson said. “I’ve got a big chip on my shoulder this year. I feel like I’ve got a lot to prove. It’s been a long time coming. I’m excited.”

Along with being a team leader, one of Anderson’s roles on the BYU defense is disrupting opposing offenses and forcing turnovers. 

A year ago, he recorded a memorable interception that helped propel the Cougars to an upset victory at Wisconsin. He also recorded 36 tackles in only four contests.

“That’s something about my position — I’m always around the ball. I feel like that’s something I’m good at, making plays on the ball,” Anderson said. “I take that personal, getting takeaways for my team. I think creating turnovers changes games. That’s something I really try to focus on during games.”

Anderson is confident that the defense will be “dominant” this season. And he’s also confident that the offense will score a lot of points. 

“I have a lot of faith in those guys. I’ve been in fall camps that are defensively dominated as offenses are putting in their stuff and it’s tough for them to pick it up,” Anderson said. “It’s good knowing that these guys can throw the ball. One word to describe the offense is electric. They’re going to throw the ball downfield. It’s exciting.”