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Game Day Guide: After rare loss to Nevada, Boise State travels to Provo, UT to play the No. 10 BYU Cougars

Boise State is entering week six of the college football regular season with a 2-3 record, the program's worst start since 2001.

BOISE, Idaho — Editor's Note:  The video above originally aired on Oct. 4.

When the Boise State football team travels to Provo, UT this week to play the undefeated Brigham Young Cougars, the Broncos will be facing an uphill battle amid one of the worst seasons in program history since the start of the millennia.

Boise State is scheduled to play the tenth-ranked BYU Cougars at LaVell-Edwards Stadium at 1:30 p.m. MT on Saturday, Oct. 9 on ABC. The Cougars are ranked tenth in the AP Top 25 Poll.

Under first-year head coach Andy Avalos, Boise State is entering week six of the college football regular season with a 2-3 record, the program's worst start since 2001. 

Avalos was a freshman linebacker with the Broncos that season and didn't see much playing time that year, but during his press conference on Monday, he said great things can come from seasons like this because he's experienced it.

"Well two and three is not the standard, you said it, I mean it's been a while," Avalos said. "Have I've been a part of a Boise State team in this position? Yeah, I have, and tremendous things have come from it, and I'll say that right out of the gates and we're always gonna keep perspective, we have everything sitting right in front of us."

Following Boise State's 8-4 season in 2001, after they started the year 2-3, the Broncos then went 12-1, 13-1 and 11-1 the following three seasons.

Bronco Nation should keep in mind, the 2001 season also included a program-defining 35-30 win on the road against the eighth-ranked Fresno State Bulldogs.

If history truly does repeat itself, beating a Top-10 BYU team on the road would be the signature win for the team this season, which offensive coordinator Tim Plough recognized in Monday's press conference.

"I mean, what better environment, what better way to get this thing figured out," Plough said. "We talked about finding consistency, we're talking about challenging ourselves, we had a lot of people doubting us, you know, people want to say a lot of negative. things. What a great opportunity for us to stick together and to rise to the challenge and go play a top 10 team on the road, where I'm sure a lot of people won't give us a lot of chance that sounds like a great, great chance for potential."

More than 63,000 screaming fans in LaVell-Edwards Stadium are expected for Saturday's rivalry matchup. Prior to the Broncos' home loss to Nevada last week, BYU announced that tickets for the Boise State game were sold out.

The importance and scope of Saturday's rivalry game aren't lost on Avalos and he expects the Cougars to be a challenge.

"Regionally, it's a huge rivalry game. It's always a physical, physical game they've got an unbelievably physical team year-in and year-out," Avalos said during Monday's press conference. "[BYU head coach] Kalani has obviously done a tremendous job now that he's been there for a while, and building a foundation within that program."

Kalani Sitake is entering his sixth season as the head coach for his former team. Sitake was a fullback for the Cougars for five seasons in the late 1990s. 

During his own press conference on Monday, Sitake mentioned the close ties between the two programs and how much this rivalry means to the BYU football program.

"Geographically, we're close enough where we know that there's some local people that are there and I said we have players on our team that are good friends with players on their team so it'd be a lot of fun, a great coaching staff and I think they're a dangerous opponent, we need to have all our focus on them and respect the game as much as possible," he said.

"I really appreciated the consistency of playing Boise every year, and I appreciate, their fan base and their program, just the way they do things," Sitake added.

GAME INFORMATION

Boise State (2-3, 1-1 MWC) at Brigham Young (5-0, 0-0 Independent) 

Click or tap here for more ways to watch the game.

ON TV

The game kicks off at 1:30 p.m. MT  Saturday and will be televised on ABC, which can be found on the following Treasure Valley channels:

  • Sparklight (formerly Cable One): Channel 6/1006 (HD)
  • DirecTV: Channel 6
  • Dish Network: Channel 6
  • Cox: Channel 8

BRONCO ROUNDUP GAMEDAY

KTVB's Bronco Roundup Game Day show will be live on KTVB Channel 7.1 and KTVB.COM from noon to 1 p.m. Saturday. Join Jay Tust and Will Hall for a look at all of the major storylines surrounding this matchup. KTVB's sports team will feature interviews and updates from former and current players during the show.

POST-GAME PRESS CONFERENCE

KTVB will live stream the post-game press conference on KTVB.COM, the KTVB YouTube channel, and on the KTVB mobile app.

Interviews with coach Andy Avalos and players and/or other members of the coaching staff will be posted online soon after the press conference ends, so Bronco Nation can watch the press conference whenever and wherever they want.

Stay tuned to KTVB.COM after the game for a game recap, highlights, and slideshow from the game.

BRONCOS-COUGARS SERIES

The Boise State-BYU rivalry has only heated up in recent years, but the two programs' first matchup was nearly exactly 18 years ago. On a snowy evening on Oct. 30, 2003, the Broncos dominated the Cougars 50-12 in LaVell-Edwards Stadium in front of more than 60,000 BYU-faithful. 

Andy Avalos, then a junior linebacker for Boise State, led the Broncos' defense with six solo tackles, five assisted tackles, plus a tackle for a loss, a sack and two pass breakups. 

Since then, Boise State is 7-5 all-time against BYU but has been on a two-game losing skid to the Cougars. The Broncos' last win against BYU was in 2018 and the last time they won in Provo, UT was in 2017.

Last year, the then-ninth-ranked Cougars throttled the Broncos 51-17 after Boise State had to rely on the team's third and fourth-string quarterback to lead the offense.

Moving forward, the future for the growing rivalry between Boise State and BYU is uncertain. The teams have games contracted out through the 2030s, but the contract allows an out for either team if they join a Power 5 conference. 

Earlier this year, BYU accepted an invitation to the Big 12 Conference, however, it's unclear if BYU would want out of its series with Boise State. For Cougars head coach Kalina Sitake, he believes that their rivalry ranks among the university's other in-state rivals, like the Utah Utes and Utah State Aggies.

Sitake added that he respects the football program, especially after the regional rivals played during the pandemic-impacted 2020 season.

BYU was the Broncos' sole non-conference game in 2020 and Boise State had two games canceled due to COVID-19 inside the programs.

"I'm glad that they stepped and played us last year, that was awesome for them to do that when they didn't have to," he said in a press conference on Monday.

For Andy Avalos, he wants to see the Boise State-BYU rivalry continue as the Cougars make their way into the Power 5.

"I mean it's been an unbelievable game ever, you know, the games have, a lot of them have, come down to the last minute of the game," he said on Monday. "It's been an unbelievable series, again, and not just since we've been playing every year, I mean it's gone back to the early 2000s where it's been that way."

Boise State's all-time record against BYU:

  • Nov. 6, 2020 - L, 51-17 (Boise)
  • Oct. 19, 2019 - L, 28-25 (Provo)
  • Nov. 3, 2018 - W, 21-16 (Boise)
  • Oct. 6, 2017 - W, 24-7 (Provo)
  • Oct. 20, 2016 - W, 28-27 (Boise)
  • Sept. 12, 2015 - L, 35-20 (Provo)
  • Oct. 24, 2014 - W, 55-30 (Boise)
  • Oct. 25, 2013 - L, 37-20 (Provo)
  • Sept. 20, 2012 - W, 7-6 (Boise)
  • Sept. 24, 2004 - W, 28-27 (Boise)
  • Oct. 30, 2003 - W, 50-12 (Provo)

Editor's Note: To never miss a beat of Boise State football news this season, make sure to download the KTVB app for the latest updates, stories and scores.

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