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BYU Football not facing same Hawaii team as last year

Brigham Young Cougars defensive back Michael Shelton (18) makes a sliding tackle on Utah State Aggies running back Darwin Thompson (5) during the Utah State versus BYU football game at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Friday, Oct. 5, 2018. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

PROVO – Last season BYU ended its football campaign with a victory over a struggling University of Hawaii team to finish 4-9 on the season.

This year the Cougars will see a much different Warrior team that only won three games last year. So far this current roster is 6-1 and averages over 468 yards per game and puts up over 38 points on the scoreboard per game.

The Hawaii offense is led by Cole McDonald who has already thrown for 2100 yards and 24 touchdowns, which both are good for second in the nation. McDonald also missed Hawaii’s game last week against Wyoming as well. He says he is ready for the game against BYU tomorrow though.

“I’m back,” he told reporters Tuesday after practice. “It feels good. It’s nice to be out with the boys and throwing again.”

The program is 0-9 all time when playing at BYU and McDonald says his squad is ready to come get its first victory in Provo.

“I feel like myself and for the guys, we want to be part of that legacy. To Hawaii and to everyone out here, it means something special, and if we can give that to the state and to the people, that would mean the world to us, just coming back with that win,” McDonald said. “We’re going to go out there and execute our assignments and play great football and come back with that win, so it’s going to mean a lot to us.”

So the defense, which has struggled in its last two games versus Washington and Utah State, will have quite the task in slowing down the Warrior offense.

“They’re a pretty high-powered offense,” said defensive lineman Corbin Kaufusi. “They run a lot of quick throws so we have to be ready for that.”

BYU safeties coach Preston Hadley has been impressed with Hawaii’s offense, but believes the Cougar defense is up to the challenge.

“They execute really well. Their receivers are in sync with their quarterback. They do a good job. They have three receivers with over 30 catches,” Hadley said. “We’ve challenged the guys. We haven’t played well the last two weeks. It’s a great opportunity with a good offense coming into our stadium for the corners, safeties and the whole defense.”

Kick off is set for 8:15 P.M. on Saturday.