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Jay Drew
Jay covers BYU athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow him on Twitter @drewjay.

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BYU returns to Maples for first time since Cougars, Cardinal opened facility on Jan. 4, 1969

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I’m writing this blog from the Salt Lake International Airport, where I will board a flight to Oakland and then drive over to Palo Alto for tonight’s BYU-at-Stanford men’s basketball game. Looks like the Cougars are 10-point underdogs at Maples Pavilion for the 9 p.m. MST tipoff against the Pac-12’s Cardinal. The game will be televised by ESPN2.

Here’s my preview of the game.

The Cougars fell to the Cardinal in 2004 at the Maui Invitational in Hawaii the last time these schools played each other. This is the first time BYU will play at Stanford since Jan. 5, 1969.

That was actually the second game of a double-header. In the first game, Jan. 4, 1969, the Cougars beat the Cardinal 95-89 in the first game every played at Maples Pavilion. Stanford got revenge the following night in a big way, 94-78.

On the road with the Cougar hoopsters, I will miss football coach Bronco Mendenhall’s weekly Monday press briefing tonight after football practice, unfortunately. Mendenhall will update the statuses of the three injured starters from the Wisconsin game: LB Spencer Hadley (knee), WR Mitch Mathews (shoulder) and tight end Devin Mahina (groin).

My guess is that all three will be out this Saturday when the Cougars play host to FCS Idaho State (3-7) at LaVell Edwards Stadium. That game kicks off at 1 p.m. and will be televised by BYUtv.

I’ve already posted video and comments from Mendenhall and quarterback Taysom Hill gathered after the 27-17 loss to Wisconsin.

Offensive coordinator Robert Anae also appeared in the postgame interview room. Here are a few of his comments:

Opening statement:

"My hat and acknowledgement goes out to Wisconsin. I thought they played very good defense, were well-coached, and played well. So before I talk about anything else, I would like to acknowledge that I do feel that the opponent tonight was an extremely worthy opponent.

We were not good enough, as indicated by the score.

Just right off the bat, looking at our total yards, 370, not one of our better efforts. And third down conversions, 7 of 19, left a lot out on the field in terms of converting on third down. And rushing the football 39 times for 163 yards.

Looking at us versus the opponent, they out gained us in that department, and we were 19 of 42 [passing]. So not our normal game. We worked hard to get to this point.

It is a goal of ours to be in the top 25, and we had a chance tonight to get closer to that, and in my opinion to be a good offensive team you got to do that on the road, and that’s how you earn that spot. And we came up short tonight."

On them containing Taysom Hill and how they did it:

"Well, they were physical up front and their secondary guys were in good positions to corral the football. And they read keys for the most part of the night they were pretty keyed in on quarterback run type stuff. They were there, and they were in position, and they made those plays."

On having too many third and longs:

"Well, everybody football school in America is disappointed in third and longs. I don’t know one that jumps for joy on third and long. It is something you would like to avoid and stay away from as much as possible. Your percentages are you are not going to convert on third and long."

On not having Mitch Mathews and what is wrong:

"It seemed like we had a couple of guys that were not able to go, so we did have to adjust. Hats off to Skyler Ridley, he did a lot of adjusting tonight. We had to put him in positions because guys were going down. I am really encouraged by Skyler and his ability to adjust in real time."

On the 12 men on field penalty and why they screwed up:

"Because we were adjusting, and that’s my fault as an offensive coordinator for not making it clear, the personnel that is on the field, with the adjustments that were made. We came right off the thing, and there was confusion. And that’s my fault for that happening.

So that’s what it was. It was confusion with who was on the field at that specific time. Up to this point in the year, we have been very good with our substitutions with a bunch of guys going down at a certain spot, we had to adjust and we got caught in that adjustment at that critical time. That’s what happened."

On not going as fast as they wanted to:

"Well, we go at the pace that we go. If you make yards and get first downs, that pace speeds up. If you don’t, you are not going to get the volume of plays that you want. And that is in relation to converting on third downs, and we were not very good at converting on third downs.

We go fast, but like I said, the volume of that was shortened tonight. Credit to them on D. and looking at us in the mirror, we weren’t as sharp and we weren’t as physical and we were not as focused tonight."

On the offensive line and how it played:

"I thought at times the offensive line took a step forward. You just would like to see better protection early on in the game, but I do believe as the game grew, the offensive line settled in and protected better and blocked for runs a little better.

But anytime you come away with a loss, you always feel challenged in all areas, so not looking to pinpoint any one group. It was us as an offense, as a whole, and we came up short tonight."

On a sequence that was key after cutting lead to 20-10:

"Oh, no doubt, that took us … Had we been able to march the field and put it in the end zone, that would have been a different game. But we were not able to, so that’s … I am sure the entire group is frustrated with that series."



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