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Zach Wilson becomes youngest QB to start at BYU

Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (11) who is making his first start looks to pass the ball as BYU and Hawaii prepare to play at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018.
Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (11) who is making his first start looks to pass the ball as BYU and Hawaii prepare to play at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018.

PROVO — BYU quarterback Zach Wilson made some history Saturday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Wilson became the seventh true freshman to start for the Cougars as they hosted Hawaii. He also became the youngest quarterback to start in BYU history — at 19 years, 2 months.

The previous six true freshmen to start for BYU are Drew Miller (1997), John Beck (2003), Jake Heaps (2010), Taysom Hill (2012), Tanner Mangum (2015) and Joe Critchlow (2017).

Both Miller and Heaps were 19 when they made their respective debuts as starters but they were a few months older than Wilson. Meanwhile, Beck, Hill and Mangum were 22 when they made their first start while Critchlow was 21.

Wilson replaced Mangum, who is now 25. Mangum had started every game this season going into Saturday's contest.

Wilson’s debut as a starter marked the fourth time in seven years the Cougars have started a true freshman at quarterback, and it’s the fifth time in nine years.

It didn’t take long for Wilson to make an impact. He led the Cougars on touchdown drives on their first two possessions. Wilson finished the first half completing 10 of 18 passes for 108 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also ran four times for 24 yards.

BYU led at halftime, 28-3.

HONORING JAMES: About 20 minutes before kickoff, BYU held a moment of silence for Paul James, who passed away last week at the age of 87 after a long illness.

James served as the Voice of the Cougars from 1965-2000. He was inducted into the BYU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2005.

During his 50-year broadcasting career, James witnessed some 1,300 games, calling 450 football games.

DAYAN’S RETURN: BYU junior safety Dayan Ghanwoloku played in his first game since the Wisconsin contest on Sept. 15.

Safeties coach Preston Hadley was glad to have Ghanwoloku back on the field. “Dayan’s just a natural football player. Everyone’s seen his playmaking ability. He’s one of those guys that seems to be in the right place at the right time,” Hadley said earlier this week. “He’s not perfect, but that playmaking ability offers a lot to the defense. Especially in our defense, where the strong safety position is a playmaking position.”

BACK IN BEEHIVE STATE: Hawaii wide receiver John Ursua played at Westlake High and Cedar High before moving to the islands and joining the Rainbow Warriors. He had plenty of family members who attended Saturday’s game.

Going into the contest, Ursua had caught 55 passes for 801 yards and 12 touchdowns.

“He’s great. He’s a good dude and he wants the best from everybody,” said BYU wide receiver Dylan Collie, Ursua’s former teammate at Hawaii. “You get a guy like that who can lead in that sort of way, it’s hard to find someone that truly does want the best for everyone like he does. It reflects in his personality and it reflects in his attitude week to week.”