Provo • One can't pick up a newspaper in the Bay Area these days without reading about how big Saturday's football game against BYU is to the San Jose State Spartans.
"One of the biggest games in the modern history of San Jose State football," said SJSU coach Mike MacIntyre.
Notes the San Jose Mercury News: "A win over BYU (6-4) provides the chance to create some buzz on a national scale."
Clearly, the 8-2 Spartans will be motivated in the 8:30 p.m. game, to be televised nationally by ESPN2. But what about the Cougars?
Emotions seem to be mixed among a team that knows it will play in the Dec. 20 Poinsettia Bowl, regardless of what happens Saturday against red-hot SJSU or Nov. 24 at woeful New Mexico State.
"Whenever you look at the scouting report and see that the team you play is 8-2, this late in the season, gets you juiced and jazzed," said BYU quarterback Riley Nelson. "So we are really looking forward to this game, and it shows in our practice."
BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall would rather go a year without surfing than place one game's importance above another's. That's just not his way.
Then there's linebacker Kyle Van Noy's take.
"I've heard of [San Jose State's excitement level]," Van Noy said. "I don't have time [to read about it in newspapers], but I have heard a lot of talk. I have Twitter, so you hear chit-chat all the time. I am just ready to play another game."
Van Noy said he's mostly excited because about 80 of his family members will travel to the game.
BYU and UNLV agree to resume series
BYU and UNLV announced Thursday that they have agreed to a home-and-home football series for the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
The series that ended when BYU left the MWC in 2011 will be resumed on Nov. 15, 2014 at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The 2015 game will be played at Sam Boyd Stadium on Nov. 14.
"It's good to have UNLV on our football schedule again," said BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe. "We have a very large fan base in Las Vegas, [which] was incredibly supportive of our football team during the five straight years we played in the Las Vegas Bowl, and all the conference games we played at UNLV. I appreciate our relationship with UNLV and look forward to the series."
Utahns at SJSU
San Jose State's 6-foot-5, 260-pound defensive end David Tuitupou began his career at BYU as a two-year member of the scout team. After playing at Snow College in 2010, Tuitupou transferred to SJSU. His younger brother, tight end Peter Tuitupou, also plays for the Spartans. The brothers graduated from Orem's Mountain View High and their mother, Carolyn Tuitupou, is the assistant dean of undergraduate education at BYU.
BYU at San Jose State
P Saturday, 8:30 p.m.
TV • ESPN2