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BYU football: Offensive coordinator Anae's respect for Utah runs deep

Published September 19, 2013 8:03 am

BYU notes • Anae is 3-3 as a Cougs coach, 3-0 as player vs. Utes
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Provo • BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae's last taste of the rivalry game was not a pleasant one.

In 2010, which turned out to be the final year of Anae's first stint as the Cougars' OC, BYU lost 17-16 to Utah when Mitch Payne's field goal attempt as time expired was blocked by Brandon Burton.

Anae took a lot of heat from BYU faithful in the following days because his play-calling became conservative with freshman quarterback Jake Heaps and the Cougars settled for the field goal when many believe they should have tried for a touchdown.

Anae was 3-3 against the Utes before joining Arizona's staff in 2010. The Wildcats were 1-1 against Utah in Anae's tenure there, winning 34-24 last year after dropping the 2011 game, 34-21.

"I will tell you what: I respect the University of Utah, their players, their program, their coaches," he said. "And I have a couple dear friends to me on that staff, and in that program. I got nothing but respect for the University of Utah."

Playing days

Anae was 3-0 against Utah while playing offensive tackle for the Cougars from 1982-84, but he doesn't remember the wins as much as "going against cousins, going against friends."

Particularly, he remembers facing off against former Utah great Filipo Mokofisi.

"My man from Kahuku [Hawaii] whacked me and gave me a pinched nerve," Anae said. "That is an intense game. To this day I still sleep a little tilt-headed, thanks to how tough and physical that game was."

What advantage?

The last time BYU hosted Utah at LaVell Edwards Stadium, the Utes won easily, 54-10, and many BYU fans left well before the game was over. Since 2001, Utah is 3-2 at LES, but BYU senior JD Falslev said he still believes home-field and home-crowd advantage are still relevant in the series.

"Because Utah has a very good crowd," he said. "Our crowd has done a very good job this year. I think it can play a big role if we play to our ability. If we don't play to our ability, they can kill our crowd, so I think having home-field advantage probably helps us."

Briefly

BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said Monday that slot receiver Eric Thornton, who has been nursing an injury, is expected to play Saturday. … Cody Hoffman climbed to No. 3 on BYU's career receptions list with two catches against Texas and now has 205 in his career. … Defensive end Bronson Kaufusi and Utah left guard Percy Taumoelau, a second-string left guard, are first cousins. Last year, Kaufusi went against another first cousin at Utah, David Rolf.

drew@sltrib.comTwitter: @drewjay