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BYU, Boise State both shorthanded for showdown of ranked teams Friday night

Cougars played without starting senior safety Zayne Anderson, who sustained an ankle injury last week vs. Western Kentucky

Linebacker Zayne Anderson talks to reporters after Brigham Young University football practice in Provo on Friday, March 6, 2020.
Linebacker Zayne Anderson talks to reporters after Brigham Young University football practice in Provo on Friday, March 6, 2020.
Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

BOISE, Idaho — Although it is putting together its best season in at least a decade, BYU’s football team hasn’t been able to start a game yet with a full complement of defensive players.

Free safety Zayne Anderson became the most recent Cougar defender to have to sit out after the senior sustained an ankle injury last week against Western Kentucky. Walk-on safety Jared Kapisi started in Anderson’s place Friday night at Boise State.

Freshman defensive end Tyler Batty, a part-time starter, also did not play.

The Cougars did get some defenders back, however. Linebackers Keenan Pili and Kavika Fonua and cornerback Chris Wilcox all played after missing the game against the Hilltoppers with minor injuries.

On the offensive side, the only player on the two-deep who was not available was tight end Carter Wheat.

Boise State shorthanded

After a week of speculation regarding his availability, Boise State starting quarterback Hank Bachmeier did not suit up for the second straight week. USC transfer Jack Sears started at QB for the Broncos.

Boise State was also without its top running back, one-time BYU recruit George Holani. He sustained a knee injury in BSU’s 49-30 win over Air Force last week.

Starting punter Joel Velazquez and starting wide receiver Octavius Evans also missed the game for the Broncos, along with several other players on the BSU two-deep chart.

The Broncos announced before the game that four players, whom they did not specify, were out due to COVID-19 protocols.

Grimes’ homecoming

A lot was made this week of BYU’s futility against Boise State on the blue carpet at Albertsons Stadium, but for one member of the Cougars’ contingent, the place usually brings back fond memories.

Offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes was Boise State’s offensive line coach for one season, 2000, and credits that year for kicking off his coaching career at the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) level.

Friday’s game marked 20 years since Grimes first stepped on Lyle Smith Field.

Former Boise State head coach Dirk Koetter “gave me that opportunity,” Grimes said.

It was Koetter’s third season at the helm in Boise, and the Broncos went 10-2 overall and 5-0 in the Best West Conference. They beat UTEP 38-23 in the Humanitarian Bowl to finish the season on a seven-game winning streak, having lost to only Arkansas and Washington State.

Grimes went from Boise State to Arizona State, where he served as the Sun Devils’ run game coordinator and offensive line coach from 2001 to 2003 until joining Bronco Mendenhall’s staff at BYU in 2004.

Briefly

Kickoff on Friday was pushed back to 8 p.m. as Fox Sports 1 took advantage of the 15-minute sliding window granted to them. It was 52 degrees when the game began. … Boise State won the coin toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff.