No. 12 BYU prepares for test drive against No. 25 Oregon

PROVO, Utah – The highs of victory over Baylor are now in the rearview mirror of BYU football No. 12 as they focus on the Oregon Ducks.

Going into Saturday morning at Autzen Stadium (1:30 p.m., FOX, KSL NewsRadio), Oregon’s No. 25 is a bit of a mystery.

Oregon descended on Atlanta to open the season and were crushed by defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs, 49-3. Then last Saturday, the Ducks showed off the high-flying firepower people typically associate with Oregon.

Oregon scored 70 points on FCS powerhouse Eastern Washington. The jury is still out on what Oregon is like under freshman coach Dan Lanning. But as BYU coach Kalani Sitake would tell you, this Oregon program is not to be taken lightly. Oregon enters the game by many screening services as a favorite over BYU, despite the Cougs’ higher seeding.

No shortage of talent on the Oregon roster

“I’m just watching Oregon in a movie – a great team with a lot of talent. You look at this coaching staff, I know a lot of the coaches personally, and the ones that I don’t know have great reputations in football and training,” Sitake said. “So I know from watching the movie, they’re coached well. They made a huge improvement from week one to week two in their level of execution. … To mark [70 points] in a team like [Eastern Washington]it’s hard and well practiced, it holds our attention.

To highlight the talent of the Ducks, Oregon ranks 7th in the 247Sports Team Talent Composite rankings. Oregon has five 5-star rookies and 47 4-star prospects on the roster. By comparison, BYU is 107th.

BYU’s trip to Autzen Stadium on Saturday will be the first visit to Eugene since 1990. The last time BYU was at Autzen Stadium, the Cougars were riding high, ranked No. 4 in the polls after wins over No. 1 Miami and the Washington State, before collapsing into an unranked Ducks team coached by Rich Brooks.

BYU will look to avoid a similar fate on Saturday afternoon after picking up its first victory over a Top 10 team in Provo since that victory in Miami.

“You come back to it,” Sitake said after passing the heights of Baylor’s victory. “We have a group of veterans used to the weekly routine of football, and you recover from it and you learn.”

BYU football teams put Baylor win in rearview mirror

It’s a similar message that BYU football players shared Monday during the weekly press conference.

“You can’t sit on your wins for too long,” BYU linebacker Ben Bywater said. “We are going to enjoy it for 24 hours, but then we go back to the drawing board on Monday morning. It was a huge win, and it will be a memory for me and Cougar Nation for a long time, but it’s about Oregon this week.

Sitake’s group is one of the most experienced teams in college football this season. Many of the top contributors to this BYU team were part of the perfect 5-0 run the Cougars had against Pac-12 teams a season ago. But that doesn’t seem to be a motivation for Sitake’s crew.

“I don’t think anyone thought about it until you said so,” Sitake told KSL Sports. “I didn’t even think about it. Our team doesn’t think like that. We’re just happy to play another game. I’m not going to get into all the side stories and stuff like that. We are going to focus on this game, this opponent, this week and what we see in the film is a really talented football team with very high quality coaching staff.

KSL Sports will be in Eugene, covering the Top 25 clash between BYU and Oregon. KSL NewsRadio’s extended pregame will begin at 10 a.m. (MT) from Eugene.

No. 12 BYU at No. 25 Oregon

Location: Autzen Stadium (Eugene, Oregon)

To start up: 1:30 p.m. (Mountain Time)


Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM – Extended pregame starts at 10 a.m.)

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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