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Thursday, Sept. 18, 2014

Preseason viewer’s guide: Clash of the Cougars in Detroit

By Brandon Judd, Deseret News

Published: Thu, Aug. 21 4:25 p.m. MDT

 Carolina Panthers' Harvey Unga (28) arrives before an NFL football rookie minicamp in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, May 16, 2014. Unga signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday.

Carolina Panthers' Harvey Unga (28) arrives before an NFL football rookie minicamp in Charlotte, N.C., Friday, May 16, 2014. Unga signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday.

(CHRIS KEANE, AP)

One simple transaction last Saturday made this week's preseason game between the Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars even more appealing for BYU fans.

While the Lions already employ former Cougars Kyle Van Noy and Ezekiel Ansah, the Jaguars, in need of fullback help, signed BYU's all-time leading rusher, Harvey Unga.

Given that they play on opposite sides of the ball, there's a chance that Unga could line up on the other side of Van Noy or Ansah during Friday's Detroit-Jacksonville contest.

There is hope that Ansah, who last week was activated off the physically unable to perform list, could see his first action of the preseason against the Jaguars.

“We’d love to see him in game situations, but I think the most important thing is to get him to the regular season," Detroit defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said Wednesday. "We have him in some more practice situations this week, so we were able to ramp him up a little bit and we’ll just keep evaluating to see when it’s best to get him out there and get him going.”

This is the dress rehearsal week in the NFL, as there will be extended competition between the teams' starters. Teams must cut their rosters to a maximum of 75 players by 2 p.m. MDT on Tuesday.

Unga also has more competition in making the Jaguars' 53-man roster. On Wednesday, Jacksonville signed another fullback, Eric Kattani, giving the team three fullbacks on its roster.

If you're a night owl, you can catch a replay of the Lions-Jaguars game at 2 a.m. MDT Saturday on NFL Network, or you can wait for another replay on Wednesday at 8 a.m., again on NFL Network.

Here's a game-by-game look at Week 3 of the NFL preseason and which local ties to watch for this weekend (rookies are noted):

Email: bjudd@deseretnews.com; Twitter: @brandonljudd

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1. Ernest T. Bass
Bountiful, UT,
Aug. 22, 2014

Former cougers face off? This is going to be epic! It has the makings of being the greatest game in NFL pre-season history!