clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

BYU football: Several new faces see significant contributions in blowout win over Troy

BYU showed off its depth during Saturday’s 48-7 blowout win over the Trojans.

BYU defensive back Micah Harper, left, and defensive lineman Zac Dawe prepare to tackle Troy wide receiver Kaylon Geiger in the Cougars’ game against the Trojans at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. Harper, a true freshman, got the start at cornerback.
BYU photo

PROVO — BYU had to depend on several new and inexperienced players during Saturday’s 48-7 win over Troy, with those same players answering the call acquitting themselves nicely.

Several more new faces were able to end the game late, due to the nature of the blowout win, with coaches and experienced players grateful to see their hard-working and lesser-known teammates see game success.

“I love it, and I get so excited on the sideline when I see guys who aren’t as confident with the game, just because of lack of reps, to make plays like that,” said BYU running back Lopini Katoa. “It’s a great boost for (them) and (they’ve) been working hard.”

Katoa’s specific praise was for true freshman running back, Miles Davis, who entered the game late to contribute 20 yards on five carries and two receptions for another 30 yards.

But Davis’ contributions were just one of several from new faces BYU fans haven’t all that often, if ever, during games.

First and foremost were those asked to start in place of injured starters and those serving COVID-19 quarantines — namely true freshman cornerback Micah Harper and sophomore defensive back George Udo.

Harper locked down in coverage and finished with the second-most tackles on the team, logging seven total of which three were unassisted. Udo came through with three tackles, with both helping the defense not miss a beat from its dominant performance three weeks ago in a blowout win over Navy.

It’s nothing new for BYU in recent years to depend on new guys stepping up, with this year’s team benefitting from it.

“We’ve been in situations where injuries have forced us to play a lot of guys when they didn’t have a lot of experience,” said BYU coach Kalani Sitake. “But now those guys have experience, and there’s not a big drop-off from (first team) to (second team) right now, and hopefully we can keep that going.”

Others stepping up while filling in big roles were tight end Isaac Rex, who caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Zach Wilson in the second quarter, and true freshman receiver Kody Epps, who caught a pass for 14 yards and added a rush of five yards.

Another wideout seeing good contributions was oft-injured sophomore Brayden Cosper, who was in the receiver rotation throughout Saturday’s win and responded with a couple of receptions for 22 yards.

Another standout on the defensive end was true freshman defensive end Tyler Batty, who took advantage of his playing time to record a sack late in the game, adding to BYU’s dominating play along the defensive front. Along with Batty was defensive tackle Caden Haws, who switched over from offensive line to contribute heavily yet again in a backup role behind Khyiris Tonga.

“Our (defensive line) has been working hard all offseason and when their numbers are called they’re giving 110 percent effort,” Tonga said. “So I’m grateful for guys who come to play for 10 snaps or 90 snaps — whatever they can get.”