Currently in their 12th season of college football independence, the BYU Cougars are accustomed to playing all over the country at various altitudes and during different time windows to accommodate television.

The Arkansas Razorbacks of the SEC aren’t used to as many schedule variations, but they are embracing the rare nonconference road game in the middle of October this week as they prepare to make the trip to Provo to face the Cougars (4-2) on Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Kickoff is at 1:30 p.m. MDT and the game will be televised nationally by ESPN.

“It’s not normal. Normally, it’s a conference home game, you know,” Arkansas coach Sam Pittman told reporters Monday. “But it’s the schedule, and we’re going to embrace it. Yeah, it’s different. The great thing is it’s not a night game. It is their homecoming and all those things, a whiteout and all that kind of stuff, but it’s not a night game.”

That means the Hogs will fly back to Arkansas after the game, and “we’re not gonna get back at 7 (a.m.) or whatever,” Pittman said. “And we’re off next week. We get a bye week. So if you’re going to have one that goes up to Utah, this is the perfect weekend to have it.”

Fayetteville, Arkansas, sits at 1,400 feet above sea level. Provo is at 4,551 feet. But Pittman said he’s not going to worry much about the elevation difference and the thinner air in Utah.

“We’re going to hydrate as much as possible, and we’re going to watch our kids that have sickle-cell (trait) closely. And after that, we’re just going to go play the game,” he said.

Pittman said he’s driven by LaVell Edwards Stadium (capacity: 63,725) but has never been there for a game. BYU announced Tuesday that the game is sold out.

“I know our team will be excited to go up there and play,” Pittman said. “… It will be a really nice challenge for us. It will be kind of neat to go out of conference at this point right before the bye and go play.”

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Kalani Sitake addresses injury status of Jaren Hall, Gunner Romney heading into Arkansas game

Here are more of Pittman’s comments about BYU and playing in Provo. Some have been edited for clarity and brevity:

On BYU’s makeup

“They have a really nice team. Coach Sitake does a very good job. They play extremely hard. They’ve got a really good quarterback, good offensive line, receivers that win one-on-one catches. I really like their linebackers on defense, especially (Max) Tooley and (Keenan) Pili. I like those two guys. They are really good players for them. They have a solid D-line and secondary.”

On how to get pressure on Jaren Hall

“Well, Hall’s a really good quarterback. I like their offensive line. I think they’re all good, but I like their two tackles. I think they’re really good. Obviously Kingsley (Suamataia), the right tackle, I tried to recruit at Georgia and lost that battle. … They’ve got (Gunner) Romney back. He was out for a while, and another receiver (Puka Nacua), so their receivers, they’re big. … We’re going to have to pressure him because I believe he’ll pick us apart if we don’t.”

On his relationship with Kalani Sitake

“I have high respect for him. In the AFCA, all the coaches are on Zoom, you know, and the things that he talks about when he speaks in the head coaches’ meeting, he’s very, very intelligent. From everything I see, he’s very, very positive, and obviously he has a love for BYU. I know this: For him to get (Suamataia) to come back from Oregon to BYU (was impressive). … I have high respect for Kingsley’s family, and they love (Sitake). I would think that’s enough endorsement there. He’s a fine, fine man and a (heck) of a football coach.”


Cougars on the air

Arkansas (3-3)

at No. 16 BYU (4-2)

Saturday, 1:30 p.m. MDT

LaVell Edwards Stadium

Provo, Utah

TV: ESPN

Radio: KSL NewsRadio 102.7 FM/1160 AM