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Could BYU-Utah Tech be a game — at least for a while?

The Trailblazers come to Provo Saturday riding a three-game win streak — and with little to lose.

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BYU students cheer as Cougars coach Kalani Sitake walks toward the locker room as BYU and Baylor prepare to play in Provo.

BYU students cheer as Cougars coach Kalani Sitake walks toward the locker room as BYU and Baylor prepare to play at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022. The Cougars will play their final home game of the season when Utah Tech comes calling.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

In BYU’s final home game, Kalani Sitake and BYU fans will see some seniors and juniors play their last game of the year in LaVell Edwards Stadium, and that could include QB Jaren Hall and receiver Puka Nacua. Regardless of the juniors who actually may return, Sitake will honor prospective departing players even if they have not declared.

Cougar Insider’s predictions

What do you expect to see BYU do against Utah Tech? Predict a score and explain your reasoning.

Jay Drew: I expect the Cougars to start slowly against Utah Tech, partly because BYU is coming off a bye and will be a little bit rusty, and also because I expect the Trailblazers will be full of energy and fire and will start fast.

Talent and depth will eventually take over midway through the second quarter. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the game is reasonably close at halftime. That won’t be good news for BYU, which needs the game to get some of the younger guys some work, particularly backup QB Jacob Conover. Utah Tech has won three straight games and has some really good offensive weapons. BYU’s nicked-up defense will be tested.

Prediction: BYU 45, Utah Tech 24

Dick Harmon: I look at the coaching staff at Utah Tech and they have some very impressive talent and they’ve got some talented players. This is a depth story, however, and BYU’s size will ultimately wear down the Trailblazers.

If you are Kalani Sitake and his staff, you want to start fast, score a lot of points, get a lead and then give Conover his first real work of the season to see what he can do and develop. This goes with other positions also. The seniors who haven’t played that much deserve a chance to get some turf time in front of fans. But as in the past, these type money games never go how your plan and end up being ugly with some injuries.

Prediction: BYU 42, Utah Tech 17

Cougar Tales

After an almost disastrous struggle to beat Idaho State in the season opener, Mark Pope watches his team lead No. 19 San Diego State on the road almost the entire game before losing a physical shove fest that favored the Aztecs. Here is Jeff Call’s report on that game.

As BYU prepares for the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Oklahoma, here is a preview and focus on one of the best the school has ever had, Casey Clinger. Here is a roundup of how BYU did in the regional cross-country meet.

From the archives

From the Twitterverse

Extra points

What Mark Pope thinks of Zags in Pac 12 (Deseret News)

Dallin Hall earning rotation time (Daily Herald)

Nacua’s show should be forgotten (Salt Lake Tribune)

Fanalyst

Comments from Deseret News readers:

Impressed with how the Y competed on the road against No. 19-ranked Aztecs, improved a great deal from the previous game. I’m not judging games that haven’t been played yet; Pope seems to be doing a good job of guiding these guys, look forward to seeing them prove the naysayers wrong in coming days.

— EPoint

Post game it is easy to find where and how they fell down. Threes were better than SDS but 34% won’t win games if you are out and 3 ball. Free throw shooting was 6 missed points but you can’t expect 100%. Even 90% for team is really exceptional and rarely achieved. 80% but that adds 3 points. Two more made threes and free throw shooting and you win the game. Of course it can also be found in two or three more rebounds and three less turnovers. But the numbers don’t tell why they lost. They lost because of bad decision making in taking some of those shots and pushing inside when it wasn’t there. They’ll learn and be better, but won’t make the NCAA and maybe not the NIT. Oh well, go Cougars, it was a good game to watch because I count it a win because I expected them to lose by 20, or more. So my over under bet, I won.

— Dimitri

Up next

Nov. 16 | 7 p.m. | Men’s basketball | vs. Missouri State | @Provo

Nov. 16-18 | TBA | Swimming | Missouri Invite | @Columbia, Missouri

Nov. 18 | 3 p.m. | Women’s basketball | vs. Washington State | @Laie, Hawaii

Nov. 19 | 3 p.m. | Women’s basketball | vs. Troy | @Laie, Hawaii

Nov. 19 | 7 p.m. | Men’s basketball | vs. Nicholls | @Provo

Nov. 19 | TBA | Cross Country | NCAA championships | @Stillwater, Oklahoma

Nov. 19 | 1:30 p.m. | Football | vs. Utah Tech | @Provo

BYU quarterback Jaren Hall warms up before taking on Notre Dame at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022.

BYU quarterback Jaren Hall warms up before taking on the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2022. Could Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium against Utah Tech be the last home game of Hall’s career?

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News