Matt Berry has been named the starting quarterback for this week's game against UNLV. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- BYU head coach Gary Crowton today announced redshirt freshman Matt Berry will start at quarterback against UNLV on Saturday.
"I'm excited about giving Matt the opportunity to go in, and hopefully regenerate us for the rest of conference play," Crowton said. "I feel like he has a lot of confidence right now. I like what he did in the game (against Air Force) as a starting point, and hopefully he can build from there. He showed some poise, and was able to stay up in the pocket. I thought he looked good."
Berry saw his first varsity action on Saturday at Air Force, completing 6-of-8 attempts for 95 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end Gabe Reid. Saturday's game will mark the first start for Berry since his final high school game in November, 1998.
"I have always hoped I would get the opportunity to step in and help the team," Berry said. "I'm excited about the opportunity and look forward to going in there and doing what I can to help get the team a win."
The 6-foot-5, 218-pound, native of Redmond, Wash., replaces junior Bret Engemann as the starting quarterback. Engemann, who led BYU to back-to-back wins against Syracuse and Hawaii to start the season, as well as an impressive come-from-behind win at Utah State, will remain in the mix for playing time.
"I'm not blaming anything on Bret," Crowton said. "We've had some struggles as of late in different areas -- not just at quarterback, but with the whole team. Sometimes it's easy to look at the quarterback, and that's unfortunate. Bret has made some tremendous strides, and I think he's in a situation where he will get another opportunity at some point. He just has to work hard and be ready."
On the season, Engemann leads the BYU roster with 1,221 yards on 109-of-199 attempts, averaging 203.5 yards per game.
Berry gained valuable experience during the JV season, completing 12-of-23 attempts for 144 yards against top-ranked Dixie State College, including a touchdown pass to Kish Beverley. Against Snow College, Berry led the Cougar offense on an 80-yard drive, finishing with a 28-yard touchdown pass to tight end Andy Hadfield.