Cougars skipping practice today in favor of families

Brigham Young will do something highly unusual so close to a bowl game kickoff — take a day off.

Because today is Sunday and BYU is not only a Mormon institution, but arguably THE Mormon institution, the No. 15 Cougars (10-2) will attend church and spend time with family rather than prepare for No. 16 Oregon State (8-4).

The teams play in the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Sam Boyd Stadium.

BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall downplayed any possible disadvantage from not practicing.

“It’s a unique (school), and the best thing we can be doing is representing our faith and doing the things we know are right,” Mendenhall said.

“We have 41 married players on our team, so it’s great for them to be with their wives.”

• NOT EXACTLY PASADENA — Oregon State came four points short of playing in the Rose Bowl, losing the regular-season finale at rival Oregon, 37-33

One of coach Mike Riley’s greatest challenges is firing up his team after such a close call. In recent years, there are countless examples of bowl teams playing uninspired because their bowl assignment was such a big letdown.

“We addressed it right way,” Riley said. “There’s no way you’re not going to be disappointed. It’s a good thing to be disappointed. We committed so much, the team did, to winning all year and then you get to that chance.

“Now it will show how tough they are, to do what they’ve done all year, to come back and play our best game.”

• MORE TICKETS — The game technically is a sellout, but a small number of tickets will go on sale at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the stadium’s south box office.

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