Sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps directs the BYU offense during the team's first scrimmage of fall camp at LaVell Edwards Stadium. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah - The first scrimmage of fall camp was largely a successful one for head coach Bronco Mendenhall and the BYU football program in front of more than 7,000 fans at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday.
The only downside to the scrimmage occured on the opening kickoff when sophomore running back Iona Pritchard went down awkwardly in a pile of players while blocking on the return team. Pritchard, newly returned from an LDS mission and a standout during fall camp, had to be carted off the field after suffering a broken leg and a dislocated ankle.
"We really believed he was beginning to become the next version of Manase Tonga," Mendenhall said afterward. "It's a big loss with how he's played. We've been very, very excited for him. Throughout camp his role has kept expanding but we'll have to make some adjustments now. Thankfully we have a good group of running backs."
The ensuing drive began with sophomore Jake Heaps at quarterback, with Heaps going 5-for-5 for 61 yards on a 10-play, 78-yard drive. Heaps completed a 14-yard pass to sophomore tight end Austin Holt, a 20-yard pass to senior running back Bryan Kariya, and to six-yard passes before finding senior wide receiver McKay Jacobson along the left sideline for a 15-yard touchdown.
In addition to his reception, Kariya also had three carries on the drive, each going for five yards apiece, while the Cougars' experienced offensive line helped the offense gain positive yardage on every play of the drive.
"I think the offense line was the most cohesive and stuck out to me the most," Mendenhall said. "I liked how physical they were today."
In the second drive, junior Riley Nelson came in at quarterback, finding senior running back JJ Di Luigi for an 11-yard gain. But on the ensuing play, a bobbled pass was intercepted by junior Carter Mees.
The interception helped galvanize a defense that allowed only two field goals over the next five series. Two throws of 27 and 17 yards from Heaps to sophomore Marcus Mathews over the middle helped set up Justin Sorensen's field goal of 28 yards. On the offense's next drive, a 24-yard pass from Nelson to sophomore JD Falslev resulted in a 27-yarder by Sorensen.
Redshirt freshman Alani Fua and true freshman Moses Kaumatule each recorded a sack for the defense while junior defensive back Joe Sampson and freshman linebacker Austin Heder impressed the crowd with some hard hits late in the scrimmage.
On the day, Heaps finished 7-of-9 for 105 yards. Nelson went 4-of-6 for 52 yards while James Lark went 0-for-2 and Jason Munns threw 2-for-4 for 20 yards.
On the ground, Kariya had five carries for 23 yards and Di Luigi had three rushes for 22 yards. Through the air, Mathews led all receivers with 44 yards while Falslev finished with 30 yards and Jacobson had 21 yards on two catches.
BYU's final practice open to the public will be on Tuesday, Aug. 16, at 10:15 a.m. at the SAB outdoor practice field. Also that day is the Cougar Kickoff, a fan event featuring the football team and other BYU squads. The event takes place that evening at 6 p.m. at Haws Field just west of the Indoor Practice Facility.