BYU football has confirmed that two of the team’s key starters will miss the remainder of the season with injuries — Ty’Son Williams with a torn ACL and Zayne Anderson with a lingering shoulder injury.
Anderson suffered a season-ending shoulder injury last season, causing him to miss all but four games because of surgery. Anderson decided to redshirt the 2018 season because of the injury so he would have one more year of eligibility.
According to NCAA rules, athletes have five calendar years in which they can complete four years of competition. Anderson, now a senior, will have been on the roster for five calendar years. In rare cases, exceptions have been given so that athletes can receive a sixth year of eligibility. In order to receive such an exception, universities must prove the athlete lost two years of play because of a situation out of the athlete’s control, such as injury.
If BYU decides to reach out to the NCAA in hopes of having Anderson granted a sixth-year of eligibility, it could result in a rare exception.
Anderson will end the 2019 season with 10 total tackles and a pass breakup. The senior linebacker came into the season as a highly-touted defensive player, with some people saying he was the third most talented player on the team behind quarterback Zach Wilson and tight end Matt Bushman.
Williams is a graduate transfer from the University of Southern Carolina. In 2016, Williams was required to use up his redshirt year because he was a transfer from the University of North Carolina. Since he did not lose two seasons because of injury, it is likely that his NCAA career ended with the injury against Washington.
Williams finished the season with 264 rushing yards on 49 attempts, averaging 5.46 yards per carry. In addition, the native of Sumter, South Carolina added three touchdowns and seven receptions.
Linebacker Keenan Pili and tight-end Moroni Laulu-Pututau are also facing injuries, but the extent of their injuries has yet to be determined. This loss of players could have an effect in the coming games, but Coach Kalani Sitake said he believes his depth will be ready to step up after a 45-19 loss to No. 22 Washington.
BYU fans turned up for an exciting white-out game against No. 22 Washington on Saturday, Sept. 21. The throwback game was themed to celebrate 150 years of college football, with the team sporting uniforms styled after the original BYU uniforms, and the field decorated to reflect the Cougars’ football history.
With the exception of the opening coin toss, very little went right in the game for BYU. The Huskies scored early, often and in virtually every categorical way to halt BYU after two straight overtime victories. A scoop-and-score off a Wilson fumble gave Washington a defensive touchdown. A punt returned into the endzone gave the Huskies a special teams touchdown. Three scores through the air gave Huskies quarterback Jacob Eason three passing touchdowns. And two scores on the ground gave Washington a pair of rushing touchdowns.
Putting this debacle behind them, the Cougars will come up against the Toledo Rockets on September 28. The Rockets have had a mixed season with a 2-1 record so far. They lost their first game of the season against No. 14 Kentucky, but they stayed close behind throughout the game and ended it with a score of 38-24. Quarterback Mitchell Guadagni played well with a passer rating of 143.7.
The Rockets second game of the season was a blowout win against the Murray State Racers. They walked away with a 45-0 victory, having scored three touchdowns in the third quarter alone.
Toledo’s most recent game was against the Colorado State Rams on Saturday, Sept. 22. They beat the Rams with a final score of 41-35. CSU took the first lead of the game but was unable to maintain it, and though they stayed close behind the Rockets throughout the game, they were unable to capitalize on a few crucial plays, and Toledo walked away victorious.
One important player to watch in the upcoming game is running back Bryant Koback, who ran 228 yards against CSU, averaging 12 yards per run. BYU has been virtually unable to stop the run this season, allowing 215.5 yards on the ground per game, ranking 116th of 130 NCAA FBS teams.
Emmanuel Esukpa, who will see his playing time drastically increase because of the Williams injury, stated that he doesn’t worry too much about how good or bad the other team is going into a game and that he prefers to focus on BYU and what his team needs.
“I just pay attention to us and what we have to do in order to get a win,” Esukpa said.