Fuel to the Fire, Utah Eager to Play in Provo

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Fuel to the Fire, Utah Eager to Play in Provo

The University of Utah senior wide receiver Kyle Fulks (6) talks with senior defensive back Kenric Young (24) before the punt retun in an NCAA football game vs. The North Dakota Hawks at Rice Eccles Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017

(Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

The University of Utah senior wide receiver Kyle Fulks (6) talks with senior defensive back Kenric Young (24) before the punt retun in an NCAA football game vs. The North Dakota Hawks at Rice Eccles Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017 (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

The University of Utah senior wide receiver Kyle Fulks (6) talks with senior defensive back Kenric Young (24) before the punt retun in an NCAA football game vs. The North Dakota Hawks at Rice Eccles Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017 (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

The University of Utah senior wide receiver Kyle Fulks (6) talks with senior defensive back Kenric Young (24) before the punt retun in an NCAA football game vs. The North Dakota Hawks at Rice Eccles Stadium on Thursday, Aug. 31, 2017 (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Brittni Meservy

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The 45-mile drive from Salt Lake City that winds around the point of the mountain and heads south into Cougar territory is a trip that the University of Utah football team knows a thing or two about. The last time four-wheels cruised on the broken white lines to Provo with a bus full of Utes ready for the Holy War was in 2013. Both teams and programs have changed since then, but that drive is the one thing that remains the same — it’s the path that allows the two rivals to get from point A to point B to put on a football game for a state full of fans.

Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley and defensive tackle Filipo Mokofisi said they prefer playing on the road. With the game at LaVell Edwards Stadium this year, Mokofisi said he’s looking forward to hearing how the BYU fans talk to them because the negativity adds fuel to the fire and feeds the Utes’ desire to go out and play the best they can. Huntley said that away games are easier to handle because there is no sitting around and waiting, instead the team gets right to work.

This will be Huntley’s first time visiting BYU, but being a part of the rivalry isn’t new to him. He was on the sideline last year when he observed the clash between the two programs. This time around, with the opportunity to be on the field competing in front of what’s usually known to be a rambunctious audience, Huntley wants to embrace it all and just perform.

“Down in Florida we had a lot of games that were very packed,” Huntley said. “So I’m not too much afraid of people yelling or screaming, that’s fine. That’s the game of football.”

For wide receiver Darren Carrington II, this will also be his first time playing in this rivalry. He said his team has talked to him about what this matchup means and the history that it holds. Carrington brings experience to the table for the Utes, as he’s played in the “Civil War,” an in-state rivalry between Oregon and Oregon State. With those two schools being close to each other and athletes on both sides knowing players on the other, just like with Utah and BYU, he’s got a picture in his head of what the Holy War is like.

But it’s not just his participation in the previous Ducks’ and Beavers’ battle that Carrington is looking at as something that could help push him and his team towards success, it’s the chip on his shoulder that he’s playing with.

“[I’m] super excited,” Carrington said. “I mean, they wrote some stuff about me in the media and talked about me a little bit — badly. It’s all good, but I’m ready.”

Carrington knows this game is important to his team, and he is looking forward to being an offensive force that helps Utah out.

“My dad always told me big time players show up in big time games,” Carrington said. “I love big time games, and I like to think that I’m one of those players.”

Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham recognizes the intensity this rivalry carries, whether it be because his players know Cougars and vice-versa, or because some of the Utes played against now-BYU players back in high school — whatever it be, it plays a role in shaping this rivalry into what it is.

Despite those circumstances, Huntley said his mindset heading into the matchup doesn’t change just because the Utes are facing the Cougars. His focus remains on leading his team to a victory.

“We gonna go down south and we gonna handle our business,” Huntley said. “That’s what we gonna do.”

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@Britt_Colindres