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“We are hungry,” Gilbert said. “We got win No. 1. Now we want more.”

BYU quarterback Jake Heaps took his share of lumps last season when BYU started 2-5, but then helped rally the Cougars to a 7-6 finish. Against Ole Miss, he threw an interception that was returned for a touchdown, but started the BYU rally with a touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.

The Texas-BYU matchup comes at a time when the Longhorns are monitoring the delicate future of the Big 12 and the Cougars are being mentioned as possible candidates to replace Texas A&M, which is planning to leave the conference.

BYU administrators won’t comment on a possible courtship from the Big 12 but coach Bronco Mendenhall has said he likes BYU as an independent.

“I like the distinctness and I like the exposure we now have,” Mendenhall said.

The biggest drawback is that Cougars likely have to go undefeated to get to a BCS bowl, “but for now and maybe for the relative long term, I’m really, really comfortable with this independent role,” Mendenhall said.