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BYU Football Getting Players Back From Injury For Utah State Week

Sep 26, 2022, 2:39 PM | Updated: 3:59 pm
BYU Football, Gunner Romney...
BYU football wide receiver Gunner Romney is expected to be available on Thursday against Utah State. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)
(Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football suffered a laundry list of injuries during Saturday night’s win over Wyoming. But, the good news for the Cougars, most of those injured players are expected back for Thursday against Utah State.

The most significant update on the injury front was on wide receiver Gunner Romney. BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick said on Coordinators’ Corner that he expects Romney to play on Thursday night.

“I expect Gunner to play,” Roderick said on Coordinators’ Corner. “I don’t want to get ahead of myself on that, but I’m expecting to have him.”

If the 6-foot-2, 195-pound Romney plays on Thursday, it will be his first appearance of the season.

Since day three of fall camp practices, Romney has been dealing with a lacerated kidney injury that has required doctors to clear him. The fifth-year senior has patiently waited for his return. During weekly interviews with the KSL Sports Zone, Romney has consistently said he is running and feeling fine. But that he is waiting on clearance from doctors.

Before the Wyoming game, Romney participated in pregame warmups for the first time this season, showing he was close to being available.

Romney’s fellow starting receiver, Puka Nacua, there were no updates provided on Monday. BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said the star playmaker was “still being evaluated.”

Nacua played against the Cowboys, his first game back after suffering a high ankle injury against USF. The injury Nacua suffered against Wyoming was not disclosed.

Chase Roberts left the Wyoming game after the first quarter and was seen in a hoodie and sweats. From my press box view, he appeared to be nursing his arm on the sideline. Roderick on Coordinators’ Corner wasn’t concerned with Roberts’ status and said he would be fine and available to play on Thursday.

Injured BYU football players coming back for Utah State week

Gunner Romney wasn’t the only good news for BYU on the injury front on Monday. Sitake, when asked about injuries these days, emphasizes he isn’t a doctor. But during his weekly press conference with the media on Zoom, Sitake put on the doctor jacket and gave some positive updates regarding some injured players.

Sitake said he expects linebacker Max Tooley, defensive linemen Earl Tuioti-Mariner and Gabe Summers, and offensive lineman Kingsley Suamataia to be back on Thursday.

Tooley’s absence on Saturday was surprising, considering he practiced on Tuesday. Coaches kept him out for precautionary reasons due to an ankle injury.

Star left tackle Kingsley Suamataia went down with an ankle injury during Saturday’s win over Wyoming. His father, Leroy Suamataia, told KSL Sports that the heralded redshirt freshman had a negative X-ray on his ankle over the weekend.

Tuioti-Mariner participated in pregame warmups and was a game-time decision against the Cowboys. Still, the coaches decided to give him one extra week of rest in preparation for the quick turnaround.

Gabe Summers had been playing through a partially torn PCL injury. He didn’t practice leading up to the game against Wyoming but is expected back this week.

BYU football Deep Snapper out for significant time

Sitake also announced that BYU deep snapper Austin Riggs would be out for a significant amount of time with an injury.

Riggs’ mother said on Instagram that Austin and BYU safety Malik Moore each suffered broken hand injuries. Both players had evaluations on Sunday.

Without Riggs, BYU will turn to Britton Hogan and Austin’s younger brother, Dalton, as the deep snappers moving forward.

Regarding starting safety Malik Moore, Sitake said he is still being evaluated. If Moore has to miss significant time like Riggs, he could use a redshirt season and have the option to come back in 2023, BYU’s first year as a Big 12 program.

No update on Josh Larsen

BYU nose tackle Josh Larsen left the Wyoming game on crutches. The former Woods Cross High standout is still listed on BYU’s depth chart for the week.

Kalani Sitake said that none of the injured players were lost for the season.

BYU’s cornerbacks without Kaleb Hayes

The top cornerback in BYU’s secondary, Kaleb Hayes, was out last weekend due to concussion-like symptoms. Without Hayes, BYU primarily turned to D’Angelo Mandell, Gabe Jeudy-Lally, and Jakob Robinson. Jeudy-Lally, a transfer from Vanderbilt, got his first career start at BYU.

At the end of Monday’s press conference with Kalani Sitake, Hayes, who didn’t speak to the media on Monday, emerged with a message saying, “Best coach ever!” He was pointing to Sitake.

No. 19 BYU vs. Utah State

Date: Thursday, September 29, 2022

Location: LaVell Edwards Stadium

Kickoff: 6 p.m.

TV: ESPN

Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM)

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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