Provo • Because his father, Lance, has coached at BYU since before he was born, Cougar offensive tackle Matt Reynolds has been around the BYU-Utah football rivalry his entire life.
And he can't imagine what a November would be like without it.
"I think it is a fun game. I think it is unique. I think that's why there is so much media coverage, is because people are drawn to this type of experience. And there's nothing that can really explain how it is until you are there and you feel it and see it," he said. "It is just a great game."
Whether Saturday's 1:30 p.m. game at Rice-Eccles Stadium will be Reynolds' last as a Cougar isn't certain. The junior says he will explore entering the NFL Draft next spring, but hasn't decided yet.
Right now, his focus is squarely on the rivalry game.
"I grew up just up the street from LaVell Edwards Stadium, so the rivalry has been part of my life since I was little. I have seen it," he said. "But it has gotten a lot more intense for me, personally, as a player."
He's also seen the pressure it puts on assistant coaches, such as his father, and how that affects an entire family.
"There's just an added feeling, an added excitement," he said. "And there's added pressure to do well, and to win. Obviously, we want to win every game, but with the way our season has gone, and how we started off not doing so well â¦ we want to end the right way."
Next year, the rivalry game will be played Sept. 17, ending a 47-year streak in which the game was played in November.
BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall used part of his Monday news conference to plead for more civility in the rivalry at both venues, Rice-Eccles in Salt Lake City and LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo.
"It would be a great if the fans would take on a stronger spirit of sportsmanship and be able to compete against one another, but do it in a civil way. I think it certainly is possible, and I think it is desirable, and it would add more class to the rivalry," he said. BYU police Lt. Arnold Lemon confirmed the family of BYU quarterback Max Hall needed a police escort out of Rice-Eccles Stadium after the game two years ago. At LaVell Edwards Stadium, police were needed to break up an altercation on the field last year after a member of the Utah staff took a cell phone camera from a BYU fan and threw it into the crowd. The wife of Utah coach Kyle Whittingham was involved in the skirmish and suffered some minor facial cuts.
"Again, I am [asking] for both sides [to act more sportsmanlike], not just one," Mendenhall said.