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BYU football: Nothing left to do but win

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BYU defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki high fives players during a game against Mississippi State on Oct. 14, 2017. (Photo by BYU Photo)

After their 35–10 loss to Mississippi State last Saturday, the BYU football team now finds themselves on a six-game losing streak, a situation they haven’t been in since the 1968 season.

Nearing the end of October, the Cougars now sit at 1–6 and haven’t seen a victory since the end of August when they beat Portland State 20–6. Since then, BYU has scored a total of 60 points while giving up three times as many (185) points to their opponents.

The team now needs to win every single one of their remaining six games if they want to avoid their first losing record since 2004 and extend their bowl game appearance streak to 13. In this do-or-die situation, BYU head coach Kalani Sitake is facing it head-on.

“It’s a new week and we are getting a new team ready for the next game,” Sitake said. “The guys are excited to play better. We’ve watched film and started making corrections after last week’s performance.”

The Cougars will have to do the majority of their work on the road. Out of the six games remaining, BYU will play in LaVell Edwards Stadium only two times. Their next road game comes this Saturday against another struggling team: East Carolina.

“Seeing the reaction of the seniors after the last game made us realize we don’t have time left in the season to waste a game. It’s time, and we will step up this week.” — Butch Pau’u, BYU linebacker

“(East Carolina) is 1–6 as well and they’re looking for a win to go to a bowl game so we expect a fight,” said freshman wide receiver Neil Pau’u.

Averaging just 242 offensive yards and 11.4 points per game, BYU ranks second to last in both categories. On the other side, East Carolina is ranked dead last in points allowed per game (50) and total offensive yards allowed per game (600). One team will need to make drastic changes and junior linebacker Butch Pau’u has all the confidence in the Cougars.

“Seeing the reaction of the seniors after the last game made us realize we don’t have time left in the season to waste a game,” Butch said. “It’s time, and we will step up this week.”

This is only the second time the teams have met. The Pirates visited Provo in 2015 where the Cougars completed a fourth-quarter comeback to win the game 45–38. Nothing in football is predictable, but one thing’s for sure — one of these teams will pick up their second win and move one step closer to turning their season around. Cougar fans can only hope the tides will turn in their favor.

The game in North Carolina is set for 5 p.m. MDT on Saturday, Oct. 21. Fans can watch the game on CBS Sports network or listen live on BYU Radio-Sirius XM 143 or on KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM.

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