When Miles Davis broke free for a 70-yard run against Wyoming, the crowd of 60,000 at LaVell Edwards Stadium erupted with the loudest roar of the night.
Here is what the redshirt freshman heard … nothing. Not a sound. The former Nevada high school track star, who had been waiting for just this kind of moment for two years since his arrival at BYU, didn’t hear a thing.
“I’m pretty sure if they had blown the whistle I would have kept on running,” said Davis, a former track star at Las Vegas High. “At that moment, everything around me got silent.”
Davis bolted through the Cowboys secondary and looked to be on his way to the end zone when he was tackled from behind at the five-yard line.
“I didn’t hear anything until he grabbed my ankle. It was like I was wearing noise cancellation headphones,” he said. “I was watching the film and seeing everybody celebrating and I didn’t hear any of it.”
Since the tackle, however, Davis can’t seem to stop the noise — especially from his family.
“They said, ‘Miles, how did you get caught? You ran track. You can’t get caught from behind,’” Davis said. “This whole week I’ve been hearing it. Every time Pops calls he says, ‘Man, we are getting back on the track this summer!’”
Davis turned in a career-high night with 131 rushing yards (all in the second half) on 13 carries. The former receiver at Las Vegas High also caught four passes for 22 yards.
For this youngster, who has four years of eligibility remaining, all’s well that ends well, even after a rocky beginning.
Making his first start, Davis took a handoff from quarterback Jaren Hall on BYU’s second possession of the game and just made it back to the line of scrimmage.
“I’m like, ‘Did I just mess up? Are the coaches going to pull me out?’ That’s what I was thinking,” Davis said. “I felt like I let the coaches down. I wanted to get up and run another play.”
About an hour later, in the third quarter, Davis received his second carry of the game and was tackled for a one-yard loss.
“Our offensive line was doing what they were doing and I felt like I was just dancing in the backfield,” he said. “I knew after that carry that there was no more dancing. Just hit the hole and go!”
On the next play, Davis exploded for 25 yards. Two plays later, much to the delight of the crowd and his quarterback, he ran for 17 more.
“Jaren (Hall) just kept telling me, ‘You got it. Just keep doing what you are doing. Relax and keep playing,’” Davis said.
The big moment of the night came with 3:15 to play. Davis took the ball from Hall and ran to his left before cutting up field and taking off.
“Right before I went back in, Harvey (Unga) said, ‘Look inside. I see you keep looking outside, but if you cut inside, that’s wide open!’”
Davis took the advice from his running backs coach to heart. He took the handoff, cut to the inside and found it to be more than “wide open” as he raced 70 yards downfield.
“I thought I was going to score right out of the gate,” he said. “I kind of started relaxing and the next thing you know, he grabbed me and I was like, ‘Dang it!’ I thought I had that.”
Named after the famous trumpet player, Miles Davis, BYU’s Davis hopes to make more music tonight against a Utah State defense that is No. 118 in stopping the run.
“I’m ready for whenever my name is called,” Davis said. “I just want to go out there and play to the best of my ability and do what I do.”
Davis is playing all the right notes. He calls his quarterback and offensive line the best in the country and says the vibe he gets while running freely through the defense is the best feeling in the world.
Unlike grad-transfer Chris Brooks and senior Lopini Katoa, Davis didn’t face top-25 teams Baylor and Oregon, whose stout defenses kept the running game grounded. But the spark he brings just might be what is needed to fire up the engine and reenergize the one missing piece in BYU’s offense.
More on Davis
You can see Dave McCann’s interview with Miles Davis tonight at 4 p.m. on “BYU SportsNation GameDay” on BYUtv.
“Once the running game gets going it opens up so much for the offense,” Davis said. “That’s A-Rod’s plan (offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick). “We have to run the ball.”
Davis plans on breaking a number of long runs and if he pulls it off again against the Aggies, igniting another thunderous roar from the crowd, just know the 6-foot-2, 210-pound speedster isn’t hearing any of it. In the open field, with lots of green grass in front of him, Davis runs in silence.
Dave McCann is a contributor to the Deseret News and is the studio host for “BYU Sports Nation Game Day,” “The Post Game Show,” “After Further Review,” and play-by-play announcer for BYUtv. He is also co-host of “Y’s Guys” at ysguys.com.