BYU’s Young Freshmen Delivered In Upset Win Over Rival Broncos

Oct 20, 2019, 2:24 AM | Updated: 2:29 am
Photo: Courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey...
Photo: Courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey

PROVO, Utah – BYU head coach Kalani Sitake has discussed the improved depth in his program this season. Back in June, I even shared how this would be the deepest team BYU has fielded in the Independence era.

That depth that was thought highly of in the off-season delivered a huge 28-25 win against a ranked rival in No. 14 Boise State on Saturday night.

Some notable new faces were key to BYU’s big win.

Baylor Romney

In his first start at quarterback since he was a high school senior at Franklin High School in El Paso, Texas back in 2014, Romney looked great and performed exceptionally well.

Romney tossed for 221 yards, two touchdowns, and zero interceptions. Back in fall camp, Romney entered the season as the Cougars third-string quarterback and he continued to prepare if his name was ever called. His name was called and he delivered.

Now heading into the game two weeks from now against another rival in Utah State, there will be a competition at QB competition between Romney and Jaren Hall to determine who will be the starter.

Sione Finau

A former all-state performer out of Kearns High School, Finau committed to BYU when Kalani Sitake and Ilaisa Tuiaki were hired away from Oregon State to be in Provo.

Like Romney, Finau earned the first start of his young BYU career on Saturday night and he led the Cougars in rushing yards with 89 yards on 11 carries which were good for 8.1 yards per carry.

Finau’s highlight moment was a 46-yard touchdown that was BYU’s longest run of the season. When training camp started at the end of July, Finau was hovering around the fourth or fifth-string running back spot. With injuries to Ty’Son Williams and Emmanuel Esukpa and a position change to Tyler Allgeier from running back to linebacker, and healthy competition with Lopini Katoa, Finau rose up the depth chart.

Blake Freeland

A true freshman from Herriman High School, Freeland was a three-star recruit in the 2019 recruiting class. After a strong push from rival Utah, Freeland stayed true to a longtime commitment to BYU.

In high school, Freeland played multiple sports and on the Herriman football team, saw time at quarterback early in his prep career.

When Freeland arrived at BYU this past summer, he needed to add weight to become a potential guy that was competing in the two-deep. That didn’t happen initially out of training camp. But with BYU losing a handful of offensive linemen to injury, Freeland became the starter on Saturday night against Boise State.

In his first start, Freeland had the tall task of going up against the Mountain West Conference’s all-time leader in sacks in Curtis Weaver. Freeland held Weaver to 0.5 sacks and five tackles on the night. Not bad for a guy who hadn’t played in a college football game at all in his career.

Tyler Allgeier

Allgeier a preferred walk-on from Fontana, California, switched from running back to linebacker last month. With only four weeks under his belt at linebacker, Allgeier stepped in for the injured Kavika Fonua and led BYU in tackles with nine solo in the win.

Shamon Willis

The son of former BYU running back legend Jamal Willis is in his first year with the Cougars after transferring over from Weber State. Willis is a sophomore who has earned the trust of BYU cornerbacks coach Jernaro Gilford throughout the year. On Saturday, Willis had his first career start in the win and recorded two tackles.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU’s Young Freshmen Delivered In Upset Win Over Rival Broncos