BYU football: About 30 BYU football players got married, surprising SMU players at New Mexico Bowl kick-off event

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — Star quarterback Tanner Mordecai and several of his SMU teammates watched curiously after arriving in the main event Wednesday night as BYU’s mobile team marched from three large buses to the recreation center.

There are over 100 BYU football players here in Albuquerque to play in the 17th annual New Mexico Bowl, it turns out, but also more than two dozen wives of BYU players, some with young children.

“Yes, it is definitely different. Yes, I think they live a little differently than we do.” – SMU Quarterback Tanner Mordecai has a lot of married players at BYU

“Um, yeah,” Mordecai said Thursday when asked if he was surprised by the number of married BYU players accompanied by wives and, in a few cases, children in strollers.

“Yeah, it’s definitely different,” Mordecai said. “Yes, I think they live a little differently than we do.”

“Zero,” Mordecai said succinctly and without hesitation when asked how many of his colleagues were married.

BYU players practice at an indoor practice facility Thursday as they prepare for Saturday’s New Mexico Bowl against SMU.

BYU officials estimate that 30 members of this year’s team are married. For example, star quarterback Jaren Hall is married with a daughter, 1-year-old Jada, but is unlikely to play on Saturdays (5:30 p.m., ABC) due to a sprained ankle.

To be honest, it’s a scene that gets played every time BYU’s at a bowl game — and that’s a lot. The Cougars are playing in the 40th bowl game in school history, and as long as anyone associated with the program remembers, the players are allowed to bring their wives.

It’s a tradition started by the legendary and late coach LaVell Edwards, who believed bowl games should be treated as rewards for entire families.

BYU leads college football annually in married players, which isn’t a surprise considering that many players go on two-year stints to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before enrolling, and are therefore two years older than their peers in the same class.

“We’re enjoying our time here in Albuquerque. The people here have been fantastic. I want (the players and their families) to take it all in,” said Brigham United coach Kalani Setaki, who played for Edwards. “It’s good that everyone is able to be around. Here, the whole travel team, which is the roster and then the married men bring their wives, the coaches and support staff get to bring their families, it’s very special. “

BYU foots the bill, said BYU footing the bill.

“We love it. We’re all friends here. The football team feels like family,” she said. “It’s always funny, the other team’s reaction to seeing[BYU]players have wives they bring to these events. It’s a good time.”

Tyler Batty added, “It’s so much fun. I love having her here.”

BYU receiver Keanu Hill, who is neither married nor a member of the Latter-day Saint faith, could perhaps explain it better to Texans, since he played high school football at Trinity High in the Lone Star State and is from Bedford, Texas.

“The married guys kicked me out a little bit at first, yeah,” Hill said, referring to his first season at Provo. “Especially since everyone is getting married at a young age. I think that’s how it goes.”

17th Annual New Mexico Bowl On The Air

BYU (7-5) vs. SMU (7-5)

December 17th, 5:30pm GMT

University Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Television: ABC

radio: KSL News Radio 102.7 FM / 1160 AM

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