(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah - The BYU football team took a break from its regular fall camp routine Thursday for an exciting scrimmage in front of fans at LaVell Edwards Stadium that highlighted the team’s freshmen talent.
“We saw a ton of young defensive players play, and every young quarterback got a chance to play,” head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “It helped a ton in hopefully evaluating personnel, establishing depth, doing some great teaching and evaluating a scheme here and there. For what we were hoping to accomplish, I thought it was right on.”
Fans saw a slew of drills that the team has been participating in this fall, including position work and 7-on-7 before moving to a scrimmage that resulted in three touchdowns and a field goal.
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The Cougars, who wore full pads for the first time this camp, took a total of 76 snaps on 10 drives. Senior quarterback Riley Nelson drove down the field three times for a touchdown and two punts. Senior James Lark, freshman Taysom Hill and junior Jason Munns took two drives a-piece, with one drive resulting in points on the board for each. Freshman Ammen Olson also took snaps under center.
“I thought from a physical standpoint, the offense ran the ball and had the physical edge,” Mendenhall said. “We had about 70 plays for 24 points. When you’re 24 and under, you have a great chance to win, but the offense played more physical.”
In the opening drive, Nelson went an impressive 5-for-6 on a 10-play, 75-yard drive. Nelson completed a 16-yard pass to redshirt freshman Cody Raymond, a 15-yard pass to junior Jordan Smith, and 8-yard and 7-yard passes before finding junior JD Falslev for a 13-yard touchdown.
BYU’s next scoring drive came when Munns took the field as quarterback. Munns connected for two 10-yard passes and an 8-yard completion to set the team up for a 33-yard field goal by senior Riley Stephenson.
Three drives later, Lark marched down the field 80 yards before freshman Jamaal Williams drove into the end zone for a 4-yard touchdown. Freshman Dylan Collie contributed on the drive with a sideline catch for a 16-yard gain in a third-and-long situation.
“Jamaal [Williams] is fun to watch and he catches the ball well, but can break a tackle and run around you,” Mendenhall said.
Hill got the crowd on its feet during his second drive, quickly moving down the field with a 29-yard completion to redshirt freshman Terenn Houk before connecting with sophomore Brett Thompson for a 15-yard pass. Houk made another grab during the drive, a game-high 37-yard touchdown pass.
The defense showed its depth with six sacks from all different players during the scrimmage. Redshirt freshman Teu Kautai led the group with his sack on Lark that pushed the offense back ten yards. Other players with sacks included Zac Stout, Kevan Bills, Micah Hannemann and Remington Peck.
“Micah [Hannemann] is really starting to do some nice things as a true freshman,” Mendenhall said. “He has nice size and range.”
On the day, Nelson finished 6-of-10 for 76 yards and a touchdown. Lark went 8-for-12 for 66 yards while Munns went 3-for-5 for 28 yards and Olsen threw 1-for-1 for 11 yards. Hill finished 4-for-8 for 86 yards and a touchdown.
On the ground, senior David Foote had six carries for 34 yards while redshirt freshman Adam Hine had five rushes for 29 yards and two receptions for 11 yards. Williams shined in his first team scrimmage with five rushes for 34 yards and a touchdown while also grabbing two receptions for 11 yards.
Through the air, Houk led all receivers with 66 yards on two catches with a touchdown while Raymond finished with 31 yards.
The Cougars continue camp Friday with another session of two-a-days. Fans will have another opportunity to meet the team Aug. 21 at the Cougar Kickoff. The event takes place at 6 p.m. at Haws Field just west of the Indoor Practice Facility.