This marks the 101st meeting between the in-state rivals — or the 95th. The reason for the six-game discrepancy has to do with this: BYU officially began playing intercollegiate football in 1922, according to the school. There were six scrimmages or games between the Utes and BYU Academy, a mixture of high school and college athletes from 1896-98. The teams split the series. The Utes are going for their 10th straight win over the Cougars. They didn’t play last season.
Utah running back Tavion Thomas made his Utah debut last week with a 107-yard, two-touchdown performance. He had two 100-yard performances while at Cincinnati. Linebacker Keenan Pili led a BYU defense that held Arizona to 80 yards rushing. Pili finished with 17 tackles.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Utah: Linebacker Devin Lloyd had a career-high 12 tackles in a win over Weber State. He also had an interception, sack, forced fumble and two tackles for loss.
BYU: Receiver Neil Pau’u caught eight passes for 126 yards and two TDs against Arizona. Pau’u averaged 13 yards per catch a season ago.
FACTS & FIGURES
The Utes are looking to start the season 2-0 for the 12th time under coach Kyle Whittingham. … Utah has a 27-1 mark in regular season non-conference games since joining the Pac-12 in 2011. The lone loss was in 2012 at Utah State. … Utah ranks first in the Pac-12 in team passing efficiency (175.54) and in total offense (450). … BYU athletics will hold a Tower Climb at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday morning. It will honor the lives lost in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. Those who take part will climb 2,071 steps to represent the 110 stories of the World Trade Center — a tribute to the first responders who climbed those steps. … The schools are separated by about 45 minutes. There’s plenty of crossover, with Whittingham playing linebacker at BYU. Cougars coach Kalani Sitake spent 10 years on Whittingham’s staff at Utah before returning to BYU. … Cougars QB Jaren Hall had a 39-yard run against Arizona. It was the longest run by a BYU quarterback since Taysom Hill scampered for 39 yards against Utah in 2016.