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Provo • Senior defensive back Mike Hague can only laugh when he's asked if he's ready to play his final BYU football home game at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
"I better be," Hague said. "Goodness gracious, it has been long enough. It is about time my senior night comes up."
Hague, who began his career in 2006, is one of 22 seniors who will be honored after Saturday's game against Idaho State (1 p.m., BYUtv). All of the outgoing players can afford to approach the contest with a bit of lightheartedness, because the Bengals (3-7) of the Big Sky Conference, a Football Championship Subdivision team, don't figure to put up much of a fight.
The seniors will be presented with team blankets on the field after the game, a tradition that has been around since before offensive coordinator Robert Anae played from 1981-84. Anae shared a memory earlier this week about receiving his blanket from then-president Jeffrey R. Holland, only to see his children making a fort out of it in their living room in Hawaii several years later.
"I said, 'hey, that's my blanket,'" he joked. "My wife had no regard for what I had done [at BYU]."
This crop of seniors has done a lot, especially linebacker Kyle Van Noy and record-setting receiver Cody Hoffman, who will be remembered as two of the best players in school history. The group also includes several of the better defenders to ever play at the school, safety Daniel Sorensen, defensive tackle Eathyn Manumaleuna and linebackers Spencer Hadley and Uani Unga.
"Man, they are really talented," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "They are hard-working, and they have accomplished a lot. I think what they are most [eager] for is to have a great finish to this year. I think they think there is still a lot left that they might be able to accomplish, so I am just grateful they came to BYU. They have really helped our program."
Offensively, inside receiver and punt returner JD Falslev, tight end Kaneakua Friel, receiver Skyler Ridley and kicker Justin Sorensen were major contributors. Injuries kept guys such as Hague, Austen Jorgensen, Austin Holt, Marcus Mathews, Tyler Beck, Manaaki Vaitai and Richard Wilson from making more of a mark than they did.
Adam Hogan, Scott LeFrandt, Blake Morgan and deep snapper Kevin O'Mary mostly contributed on special teams, although Morgan has emerged as a valuable contributor in the secondary in his final year.
Coaches are hoping to get quarterback Jason Munns in the game, after the highly recruited prospect from Kennewick, Wash., went his entire career without ever taking a meaningful snap, but never complained.
"We have a lot of talented players in this senior class," said Daniel Sorensen. "We have been through a lot, and a lot of [the players] are really experienced and talented. I don't think we have lived up to everything we could have, and should have, so in a way it is a little disappointing when you see the opportunity we had before us, and didn't take advantage of that."
As for Van Noy, the All-American who will most likely have his number 3 retired by the school one day, he spoke for a lot of his cohorts when he said the notion that he would be running out of the tunnel at LES for the last time had not quite hit him yet.
He hoped the weather would warm up a bit so a lot of people would attend and give one last show of support for all the seniors.
"Man, there is a lot of history involved with that place, and to be able to play somewhere like that, where legends have played, has been quite an honor, and to be able to make my own mark has been kinda special for me," Van Noy said. "It is going to be nice to finish my senior season there and leave my legacy."
Idaho State at BYU
At LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo
Kickoff • Saturday, 1 p.m. TV • BYUtv. Radio • 1160 AM, 102.7 FM
Records • BYU 6-3, Idaho State 3-7
Series History • BYU leads, 4-0
Last Meeting • BYU 56, Idaho State 3 (Oct. 22, 2011)
About the Bengals • This is the third of four games they will play against teams from Utah. They defeated Dixie State 40-14 and lost 19-9 to Southern Utah and will finish the season Nov. 23 at Weber State. … Quarterback Justin Arias played for BYU OL coach Garett Tujague at College of the Canyons in California in 2011. … They are 0-19 against FBS schools since beating Utah State 27-24 in 2000 in Logan.
About the Cougars • They will honor 22 seniors who will be playing their final home games. … RB Jamaal Williams has moved up to No. 13 on BYU's career rushing yardage list with 1,584 yards. … The six teams they have defeated this season have a combined winning percentage of 67.9 percent, the highest percentage of any team with at least four wins over FBS teams. … QB Taysom Hill, a Pocatello, Idaho, native, has thrown for 2,226 yards and rushed for 894 yards.
BYU's 22 seniors who will be honored Saturday:
Tyler Beck, JD Falslev, Kaneakua Friel, Spencer Hadley, Mike Hague, Cody Hoffman, Adam Hogan, Austin Holt, Austen Jorgensen, Scott LeFrandt, Eathyn Manumaleuna, Marcus Mathews, Blake Morgan, Jason Munns, Kevin O'Mary, Skyler Ridley, Daniel Sorensen, Justin Sorensen, Uani 'Unga, Manaaki Vaitai, Kyle Van Noy, Richard Wilson.