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BYU honors 1996 team during Saturday night’s game against Arizona State

BYU celebrates 25th anniversary of one of the best seasons in football program history

BYU players warm-up ahead of an NCAA college football game against Arizona State at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021.
BYU players warm-up ahead of an NCAA college football game against Arizona State at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021.
Shafkat Anowar, Deseret News

Twenty-five years ago, one of the best football teams in BYU history went 14-1 and won the Cotton Bowl against Kansas State.

Saturday night at halftime of the Cougars’ game against Arizona State, the 1996 team was honored for its many accomplishments that year.

At the time, BYU was the first team to win 14 games in one season.

Players flocked back to Provo and were feted at a dinner Friday night. Many of them greeted head coach Kalani Sitake when he entered the stadium on Saturday night.

“It was so cool to see all the big names and the legends who were here,” Sitake said.

Among the players who attended Friday night’s dinner: Chad Lewis, Tim McTyer, Kaipo McGuire, K.O. Kealahui, Shay Muirbrook, Brian McKenzie, Jon Tait, Ed Kehl, Ben Cahoon, Daren Yancey, Lane Hale, Derik Stevenson, Paul Shoemaker, Ethan Pochman, Rob Morris and Henry Bloomfield.

McTyer, Lewis and Muirbook carried out the alumni flags before the game.

Rehkow wrecks punting record

BYU punter Ryan Rehkow made an 83-yard punt at the end of the first quarter, the longest punt in BYU history. The previous long was an 81-yarder by Scott Arellano in 2014 at Middle Tennessee State.

The boot came after quarterback Jaren Hall was sacked at the BYU 17-yard line and traveled into the end zone at the other end.

Fast starts

Both teams scored touchdowns in the first five minutes; Talmage Gunther forced a fumble on the opening kickoff, which was recovered by Hayden Livingston. The Cougars scored on third-and-1 when Tyler Allgeier rumbled into the end zone just 37 seconds into the game.

Arizona State faced a third-and-14 from its 41 on its second possession and the Cougars blitzed. Jayden Daniels made them pay, hitting Andre Johnson for a 58-yard pass play. Rachaad White took it in from the 1 to even the score with 11:10 remaining in the first quarter.

It was the first time this season BYU gave up points in the first quarter.

Injury update

BYU played without starting cornerback Keenan Ellis for the second game in a row. He was replaced in the starting lineup by junior Isaiah Herron, but Herron was injured on ASU’s 58-yard pass play in the first quarter and replaced by Kaleb Hayes.

Sitake said Monday that Ellis is recovering nicely from the collision in the Arizona game that hospitalized him overnight. Ellis is in concussion protocol and is close to returning, Sitake said, but BYU will not rush the San Diego native back too soon.

Arizona State played without running back DeaMonte Trayanum, who missed his second-straight game with a foot injury. Trayanum also didn’t play last week against UNLV.

Briefly

Among the recruits BYU had at the stadium was quarterback Treyson Bourquet of Salpointe Catholic High School in Tucson, Arizona. … A light rain fell 15 minutes before kickoff. It was 69 degrees at kickoff. … The Cougars scored on a gadget play in the second quarter when Allgeier flipped the ball to Neil Pau’u, who pitched it to Hall. Hall then hit Chandler, Arizona, native Gunner Romney for a 34-yard touchdown pass.