Huddled in their hotel in Salt Lake City, Washington players and coaches got an early glimpse of their Week 5 opponent.
As the Huskies were in the hotel Sept. 15, waiting around for their 8 o'clock local time kickoff that night against Utah, they watched as Brigham Young pulled off one of the biggest upsets of the season, stunning No. 6 Wisconsin, 24-21, in Madison.
"They definitely grabbed the attention of the whole nation, obviously," UW co-defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake said this week. "Going into Madison, Wisconsin, and beating a top-10 team like Wisconsin in their backyard -- all you have to do is turn on the tape and you can see why. This is a physical, physical football team."
The task for No. 20 BYU two weeks later: Do it again.
The Cougars (3-1) were 22-point underdogs going into the Wisconsin. And they are heavy underdogs again -- 17 points -- going into Saturday's game at Husky Stadium against the No. 11 Huskies (3-1).
Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. for a Fox national broadcast.
"We learned a lot of lessons in the Wisconsin game and are looking forward to learning some again this weekend," BYU coach Kalani Sitake said.
Already, Washington will be BYU's third Pac-12 opponent of the season. BYU opened the season as 11-point underdogs going into Tucson, Ariz., and then stunned the Wildcats, 28-23.
At home in Provo, Utah, a week later, BYU's late comeback bid fell short in a 21-18 loss to California. (The Huskies will make a return trip to Provo on Sept. 21, 2019, for their final nonconference game next season.)
Last week, the Huskies drew an announced crowd of 71,200 — a figure based on the number of tickets sold, not actual bodies in seats — for their win over Arizona State. They're hoping for another sellout for BYU.
"This will be an exciting game, it really will be," UW coach Chris Petersen said. "We've got a lot of respect for this team. They go into Wisconsin and knock those guys off. You can see why. They play good football, they really do."
BYU played good and clean football in its upset of Wisconsin. The Cougars didn't commit any turnovers, limited their penalties (four for 36 yards) and ran the ball effectively (averaging 6.8 yards per carry -- 28 carries for 191 yards). They also threw in a trick-play wide-receiver pass to tight end Moroni Laulu-Pututau for a 31-yard touchdown.
After the game, Sitake was so happy with his team's toughness that he gave the game ball to BYU's strength and conditioning staff.
"We just wanted to win the line of scrimmage and be physical," he said.
Washington State transfer Squally Canada (61 carries, 322 yards, five TDs) is BYU's leading rusher, and the Cougars' "extremely unique" running game will be a challenge, Petersen said.
"This offense is something we haven't seen and won't see again in terms of shifts and motions and fly sweep action," Petersen said.
Lake called it a "very deceptive offense," with its various fly sweeps -- and fake fly sweeps.
"Then you worry about the fly sweep and they'll ram it up with inside zone right up through the middle," Lake said. "This is going to be a really good challenge for our defense."
BYU also has a veteran quarterback in 25-year-old senior Tanner Mangum, an Idaho native whom Petersen tried to recruit to Boise State some years back.
"Heck of a player. We liked him a lot," Petersen said. "I cannot believe he's still playing college football. I'm like, huh? But he was an awesome kid back in high school even. Just really liked him. Then he went on his mission and then went to BYU. He's been there a long time, seen a lot of things, seen a lot of defense, played a lot of football."
This article is written by Adam Jude from Seattle Times and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.