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BYU football staying ‘humble and hungry’ through 6-0 start

BYU's George Udo, left, and Pepe Tanuvasa, right, tackle Texas State running back Brock Sturges (5) in the first half during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Bracken El-Bakri isn’t the biggest history buff, but the defensive lineman does recognize he is part of a BYU run that could be historic.
Following Saturday’s dominating win over Texas State, the Cougars are 6-0 for just the fifth time in program history. BYU has previously started a season on a six-game win streak in 2008, 2001, 1984 and 1979.

“It’s fun to be part of this history and we hope to make more of a history out of it, obviously,” El-Bakri said.

However, El-Bakri said he isn’t blown away by the Cougars' success.

“I’m just more excited like ‘we’re playing great, we’re feeling great, we’re making plays — let’s just keep going,’” El-Bakri said.

The Cougars are ranked 10th in the Amway Coaches Poll and 11th in the Associated Press Top 25, as of Sunday.
While important, BYU coach Kalani Sitake isn’t looking at those rankings. Instead, he’s focusing on progress.

SItake said his team appears balanced, handling the struggles of an unusual year and the on-field success.

“The fact that they’re staying humble and trying to be as hungry as possible," he said, "trying to get better, not settling on what they’ve done so far. Just looking to get better, I think has been a good mindset that our players have had, and something that our coaches and our leaders have shown from the very beginning.”

With four games left on the 2020 schedule (and BYU could possibly still make changes or additions), the win streak could reach 10-0. BYU has started a season 7-0 just three previous times and those years, the streaks went much longer than that.

In 2001, BYU started 12-0 and finished 12-2. In 1984, the Cougars went 13-0 (the longest single season win streak) and in 1979, BYU started 11-0.

The longest win streak in program history extended over the 1983, 1984 and 1985 seasons. After losing the first game of the 1983 season, the Cougars won the next 11, went undefeated in 1984 and won the first game of 1985.

As always, Sitake hopes his team isn’t thinking about the record books, but is instead able to stay humble and keep its focus.

BYU has found success in multiple national statistics. Through six games, Zach Wilson, BYU’s quarterback, has thrown for 1,928 yards, second to only UCF’s Dillon Gabriel. Wilson came into this week leading the nation in completion percentage overall (78.7%) and in passes that travel at least 20 yards in the air (76.2%).

With those numbers, Wilson’s deep pass percentage is higher than almost every other quarterback’s overall percentage.

BYU’s players are enjoying themselves and dreaming big.

“It’s been amazing to be part of this journey — to be 6-0 — but we definitely have more plans and bigger dreams to fulfill,” wide receiver Neil Pau’u said. “Hopefully we can get to those, have an opportunity.”

The Cougars continue their 2020 season Saturday when BYU hosts Western Kentucky for the first meeting between both programs.

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