UCLA 2016 schedule preview: BYU

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen had three first-half turnovers against BYU last year, but the Bruins bounced back to win at the Rose Bowl. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen had three first-half turnovers against BYU last year, but the Bruins bounced back to win at the Rose Bowl. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

Continuing the look at UCLA’s 2016 schedule, here is a breakdown of the Bruins’ third opponent of the year, BYU.

Saturday, Sept. 17 | LaVell Edwards Stadium
7:15 p.m. PT, ESPN or ESPN2

2015 in review

The Cougars lost starting quarterback Taysom Hill in the first game, but had a more than capable backup in Tanner Mangum. Mangum threw game-winning Hail Marys in back-to-back games to start the year before UCLA edged BYU with a 24-23 win on Sept. 20 at the Rose Bowl. The Bruins came back from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit and overcame three first-half turnovers from Josh Rosen, thanks to a shining performance from running back Paul Perkins (219 yards, 26 carries). BYU finished with a 9-4 record and a loss to Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl.


— QB choices BYU’s quarterback situation is an embarrassment of riches as both choices have successful starting experience. The Cougars have a new offensive coordinator in Ty Detmer, a former BYU quarterback himself and the 1990 Heisman Trophy winner. Detmer told reporters he is working to implement a pro-style offense and could see either quarterback flourishing in the system. Hill is a dual-threat with Steve-Young potential, Detmer said, but can never seem to stay healthy, while Mangum is the gunslinger.

— New man in charge In 11 years under Bronco Mendenhall, BYU never finished with a losing record, but have not won a bowl game since 2012. Mendenhall then moved east to take the head coaching position at Virginia, leaving Kalani Sitake to take the reins. Although there is major turnover on the coaching staff, Sitake will be expected to reproduce Mendenhall’s success with plenty of returning starters back.

— No rest for the weary BYU faces six Power 5 schools this year, the most since the team became an independent in 2011. The schedule, which includes three Pac-12 schools (Arizona, Utah, UCLA) and one each from the Big 12 (West Virginia), Big Ten (Michigan State) and the SEC (Mississippi State), is in the conversation as one of the toughest in the nation.

BYU players to watch (who aren’t the quarterback)

— RB Jamaal Williams After suffering a knee injury that ended his 2014 season with four games remaining, the running back took a year off for personal reasons in 2015. Now he’s back with the school’s career rushing record in sight. The Fontana native needs only 930 rushing yards to break Harvey Unga’s school record of 3,455. With a thin receiver corps, Williams’ return couldn’t have come at a better time for the Cougars.

— DB Kai Nacua The safety tied the school’s single-season record for interceptions last year with six. He tied another single-game record with three interceptions against Boise State. He’s a versatile defender as he was recruited to BYU as a linebacker.

 — LB Harvey Langi A former Utah running back, Langi transferred to BYU after his freshman season and moved to linebacker. While still adjusting to his new position last year, he was second on the team in tackles with 68. He also added 4.5 sacks and two interceptions.

Statistical comparison

BYU in GIF form


2016 UCLA schedule

Sat., Sept. 3: UCLA at Texas A&M — 12:30 p.m., CBS
Sat., Sept. 10: UNLV at UCLA — 5 p.m., Pac-12 Networks
Sat., Sept. 17: UCLA at BYU — 7:15 p.m., ESPN or ESPN2
Sat., Sept. 24: Stanford at UCLA
Sat., Oct. 1: Arizona at UCLA
Sat., Oct. 8: UCLA at Arizona State
Sat., Oct. 15: UCLA at Washington State
Sat., Oct 22: Utah at UCLA
Sat., Oct. 28: BYE
Thurs., Nov. 3: UCLA at Colorado — 6 p.m., FOX Sports 1
Sat., Nov. 12: Oregon State at UCLA
Sat., Nov. 19: USC at UCLA
Sat., Nov. 26: UCLA at California

Home games in bold, all times in Pacific Time