Saturday marks the 2013 season opener for both the BYU Cougars and the Virginia Cavaliers. The Cougars enter Charlottesville looking to build on last season's 8-5 record, while Virginia is looking to rebound from a 4-8 campaign.
BYU will come into this match-up looking very little like last season's team, though. Saturday will be the first appearance of BYU's new hurry-up, spread offense under new offensive coordinator Robert Anae, and the Cougar defense -- which was third nationally in scoring defense and total defense last season -- will return just six starters.
Virginia will return 14 starters, but have some uncertainty of their own. The Cavaliers will have new quarterback David Watford under center, who redshirted last season and has thrown only 74 career passes. Saturday will also be the debut for highly-touted freshman running back Taquan Mizzell, who impressed throughout fall camp.
Rankings and records: This will be the fourth meeting between these two teams, and the first since 2000. Virginia leads the series 2-1, with another meeting scheduled for 2014 back in Provo. Neither team is ranked.
Three names to know
Kyle Van Noy - BYU Linebacker - Van Noy, one of the nation's most underrated players, racked up 13 sacks and 22 tackles for loss last season and figures to be a major concern for the Cavaliers.
Morgan Moses - Virginia OT - The accolades are numerous for the 6'6", 335 pounder: Moses was named to Preseason All-ACC, to the Outland Trophy Watch List and Phil Steele's Preseason All-America 4th team. He'll play a large part in keeping Watford upright.
Taysom Hill - BYU QB - Like his Cavalier counterpart, Hill is also inexperienced and enters Saturday with two career starts. Although the new up-tempo attack should more suit his talents, this will be his first game since coming off a season-ending knee injury.
Two things at stake
Although all teams want a victory in their season opener, for both teams, a win might have larger implications than usual. Both BYU and Virginia would like to get some momentum before the games that await the weekend after -- BYU hosts #15 Texas at home on September 7th, while the Cavaliers will welcome #3 Oregon to town.
While winning would give both teams a nice boost heading into week 2, Virginia desperately needs a win of any kind -- head coach Mike London has lost 10 of his last 14 games and has been rumored to be on the hot seat. Starting 2013 with a loss certainly wouldn't help to lower the temperature.
How to witness
TV: ESPNU, 3:30 EDT (12:30 PDT) and streaming on ESPN3.
Radio: Virginia area listeners can catch the game on one of these stations, Sirius 132 or XM 192. BYU radio coverage will be on Sirius/XM 143. BYU will broadcast the game on the Cougar IMG Sports Network, KSL 1160 AM, 102.7 FM.
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