In what seems to be an unlucky Cougar trend, another BYU quarterback went down with an injury. Sophomore quarterback Beau Hoge, who was already replacing injured junior quarterback Tanner Mangum, suffered what appeared to be a concussion in the game against Utah State on Friday night.
Hoge’s injury forced sophomore quarterback Koy Detmer Jr. into the game and the team finished the night with seven turnovers and lost 40–24. The status of both Mangum and Hoge is unclear for the upcoming game against Boise State on Friday but head coach Kalani Sitake isn’t ruling them out.
“Injuries are part of the game,” Sitake said in a press release. “Obviously you’d like to have answers when you have guys that go down, but I think that if you’re looking at the situation, and I don’t talk about injuries too often, but there’s still a chance that Tanner and Beau can play this week.”
The uncertainty of who will start at the quarterback position is a situation that’s all too familiar to the Cougars. Detmer replacing Hoge in the Utah State game marked the 10th quarterback replacement in the last eight years for BYU.
In 2010, quarterback Riley Nelson’s shoulder injury in the third game of the season left the Cougars in the hands of true-freshman Jake Heaps. The following year, Nelson suffered a mild chest injury in the middle of November and Heaps started the following game for the Cougars.
Taysom Hill then joined the team during Nelson’s senior year in 2012. In another bad break for Nelson, a back injury kept him out during the season’s fifth game. Hill replaced Nelson, showing promise, but sustained a season-ending knee injury in his second start. Nelson was able to come back the following game, but was injured again late in the season forcing BYU to go with senior quarterback James Lark.
In total, Nelson suffered four injuries during his BYU career, including two his senior year.
The five quarterback injuries between 2010 and 2012 is enough for any team and their fans to feel like they’re on the bad side of luck, but it was just the beginning for the Cougars.
A short break in BYU’s bad luck, Hill fully recovered and had a healthy sophomore year. Hill entered the 2014 as a Heisman candidate, but suffered his second season-ending injury with a broken leg in the fifth game. He was replaced by senior Christian Stewart and BYU finished the year 8–5; they lost 55–48 in overtime against Memphis in the Miami Beach Bowl.
Hill returned ready to start the 2015 season but again suffered a season-ending injury, this time with a broken foot in the season opener against Nebraska. The then-freshman quarterback Tanner Mangum replaced Hill and threw a game winning Hail Mary touchdown for BYU. Mangum finished the season, leading BYU to 9–4 but lost in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl to rival Utah, 35–28.
In his 2016 senior season, Hill remained healthy until an elbow injury in the final game forced him to miss the Poinsettia Bowl. Mangum again replaced Hill and beat Wyoming 24–21.
Fast forward to this season, and again BYU finds themselves in an unlucky situation with quarterback injuries. Mangum’s ankle injury suffered on the final play of the loss to Utah, was followed by Hoge’s injury against the Aggies just a game and a half later. While Detmer finished the Utah State game, the team is looking at other options for Friday’s game against the Broncos if both Mangum and Hoge can’t play.
In a desperate situation, Sitake is considering sending in freshman Joe Critchlow or freshman Kody Wilstead as the Cougar signal caller on Friday.
“Guys like that you just hate to take them out of their redshirt year. These guys served their missions a year ago, but the last time a returned missionary was thrown in there early was Tanner Mangum and it worked out pretty well.” — Kalani Sitake, BYU football coach
“Guys like that you just hate to take them out of their redshirt year,” Sitake said in a press conference. “These guys served their missions a year ago, but the last time a returned missionary was thrown in there early was Tanner Mangum and it worked out pretty well. So we still kind of have to factor all that in and even with the thought that maybe Tanner and Beau would still return. You know if not this week, then hopefully soon.”
It’s yet to be determined who will start at quarterback for BYU in this week’s game, but whoever it is, Cougar fans can be assured they will be healthy.
“We wanna win, but not at the expense of hurting (the quarterback’s) livelihood,” Sitake said in a press release after the loss to Utah State.
BYU was always able to make it work despite major injuries in the past, having appeared in a bowl game for the last 12 years. But at 1–4, BYU is at risk of breaking that streak. The Cougars need to win six of their remaining eight games to be bowl-game eligible — regardless of who’s the quarterback.
BYU looks to turn their season around starting with Boise State on Friday, Oct. 6. Kickoff is at 8:15 p.m. at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Fans can watch the game on ESPN or listen live on BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143 or KSL 1160 AM/ 102.7 FM.