BYU’s pregame Senior Day festivities will be lengthy when the Cougars play host to Utah Tech of the Football Championship Subdivision on Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

But it won’t necessarily be definitive.

Kickoff in the first-ever meeting between the 5-5 Cougars and the 4-6 Trailblazers is at 1:30 p.m. MST, and the game will be televised by BYUtv and streamed on ESPN3. Obviously, the major storyline is that the Cougars need to beat either Utah Tech on Saturday or Stanford on Nov. 26 to become bowl eligible.

“I think the safe bet for me is to just honor everybody and then they don’t have to make a decision this week. So there are going to be guys that are probably going to have the benefit of getting two Senior Days, I guess.” — BYU football coach Kalani Sitake

It was also announced Monday that the Cougars and the Cardinal will kick off at 9 p.m. MST and that game will be carried on FS1.

Before the Utah Tech-BYU game, a total of 37 BYU players are “expected” to be honored, head coach Kalani Sitake said Monday, but that doesn’t necessarily mean all 37 are leaving the program.

There are 13 seniors who are finishing their college eligibility and will for sure be playing their final games at LES.

An additional 24 players who have been listed on the roster as juniors or even fourth-year sophomores will be honored “after spending four and five years with the program already due to COVID-19” but still have college eligibility remaining.

Here are the 13 seniors: RB Chris Brooks, DB Matthew Criddle, DL Lorenzo Fauatea, DB Kaleb Hayes, FB Houston Heimuli, DB Chris Jackson, RB Lopini Katoa, TE Lane Lunt, DB D’Angelo Mandell, LB Pepe Tanuvasa, DL Alden Tofa, DL Earl Tuioti-Mariner and OL Joe Tukuafu.

Here are the 24 who will have decisions to make: 

Offense: OL Clark Barrington, WR Brayden Cosper, OL Blake Freeland, QB Jaren Hall, LS Britton Hogan, OL Harris LaChance, RB Jackson McChesney, WR Puka Nacua, WR Gunner Romney and FB Masen Wake.

Defense/Specialists: LB Chaz Ah You, DB Ammon Hannemann, DB Malik Moore, LB Jackson Kaufusi, DB Hayden Livingston, DL Atunaisa Mahe, K Jake Oldroyd, LB Keenan Pili, DL Alema Pilimai, LB Morgan Pyper, DL Gabe Summers, LB Max Tooley, DB George Udo and LB Payton Wilgar.

“There’s nothing really set. I mean, we have had conversations (with the undecided 21) and want to get our guys in front of people that are in the know. Because I think they are hearing it from one side,” Sitake said. “We want to give them the opportunity to speak to scouts and NFL personnel and just get advice from a lot of different areas.”

Sitake said a lot of the players already have their degrees in hand, which could make the decision easier.

“So I think the decision has got to be theirs,” he said. “We can give them all the information (they need). … I think there are a lot of good reasons to come back, but this is a private decision that they are going to make with their families and their loved ones and all we can do is give them the feedback and the information on our end.”

Asked specifically about the plans of superstar receiver Nacua and two-year starting QB Hall, Sitake said both are still in the process of making a decision.

“I think the safe bet for me is to just honor everybody and then they don’t have to make a decision this week.

So there are going to be guys that are probably going to have the benefit of getting two Senior Days, I guess,” he said. “… They can take their time in making that decision.”

BYU also released its depth chart for the Utah Tech game, and there are some interesting developments. Cal transfer Chris Brooks, who has been out with a hamstring issue, is no longer on the two-deep chart. Katoa, Miles Davis and Hinckley Ropati, the star in the 31-28 upset of Boise State, are listed as co-starters at running back.

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Jackson Kaufusi is now listed as the starter at Rover linebacker, backed by Micah Wilson or Tate Romney. That probably means injured starter Payton Wilgar is out for the remainder of the season.

“In terms of legacy, all those guys should be proud of what they have done here. And it is not just stuff on the field. It is stuff they have done off the field as leaders and as teammates,” Sitake said.

Cougars on the air

Utah Tech (4-6)

at BYU (5-5)

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Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo


Radio: KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM

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