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Provo • Nineteen seniors either start or get significant playing time for BYU's football team this year, and many of them are older and supposedly more mature than traditional seniors, having gone on two-year LDS Church missions.
But that hasn't kept the Cougars from committing a high number of discipline-related penalties through three games this season. BYU has already been flagged for eight personal fouls, as opposed to just 10 all of last season.
But BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said Monday while recapping the 24-21 loss to Utah that he's not concerned with the rash of bad on-field behavior.
"Not really," he said. "A lot of times personal fouls are the signs of aggressive, confident play. And I don't really think that is what is problematic at this point. There were more execution things in that game that I was more upset with, than the other."
It is a stretch to say a personal foul cost BYU a chance at beating Utah, but one in particular set up what turned out to be the difference in the game the Utes' 48-yard field goal midway through the third quarter.
After Jordan Johnson and Spencer Hadley tackled Lucky Radley for a 2-yard loss, junior safety Daniel Sorensen was flagged for a personal foul, giving the Utes a first-and-10 at the BYU 29 instead of a second-and-12 at the 44.
The Cougar defense then kept the Utes from moving closer, but the mistake proved costly when Coleman Peterson delivered the 48-yarder.
"We have to play cleaner in all facets of the game, especially against teams like Utah and Boise State," said BYU quarterback Riley Nelson.
Twelve is too much
About a year ago, BYU and Boise State announced that they were extending their planned four-game series, signed in 2008, to a 12-game series.
Monday, both coaches in the hoped-for rivalry said 12 games might be too much.
"Twelve years? Not really. No. No. We got a tough league [Big East] that we are going to be playing in. And then you got a BYU team that you know is going to be good every year. So that's a lot of years strung together," said Boise State coach Chris Petersen.
"I would say the same," Mendenhall said later in the day when told about Petersen's feelings. "I mean, 12 is, how in the heck do you know after four [years], what is going to happen, or who is going to be where? So yeah, I think it is probably too much. I mean, I am sure I agreed to it. I don't remember when or how or under what circumstances, but you know, I reserve the right to change my mind on occasion."
Freshman Bronson Kaufusi, who returned from an LDS Church mission just a few days before camp started, is now listed as the second-stringer at left defensive end on the depth chart, replacing junior Mike Muehlmann. ... The Cougars are 3-1 on Thursday nights in the Mendenhall era when they played the previous Saturday. ... DT Russell Tialavea has blocked kicks in two consecutive games, a PAT against Weber State and a field goal against Utah.
BYU at Boise State
Thursday, 7 p.m.
TV • ESPN