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BYU Will Start Freshman RB LJ Martin Against Arkansas

Sep 13, 2023, 6:40 PM | Updated: 6:45 pm

BYU Football, LJ Martin, Running Back...

BYU football freshman LJ Martin was named starting running back heading into the Arkansas game. (Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

(Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – After two weeks of struggles with the running game, BYU football is switching up the pecking order at running back.

On Wednesday, BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick said that freshman LJ Martin will get the start against Arkansas.

Roderick on LJ Martin: “He’s breaking tackles”

“LJ’s gonna start this game,” said Roderick. “Aidan [Robbins] is gonna play too, so is Deion [Smith]. But LJ is going to start this game.”

When asked by KSL Sports what went into the decision to go with Martin as the first ball carrier, Roderick replied, “He’s breaking tackles.”

Martin has rushed for 119 yards on 22 attempts through two games this season. The former Canutillo High product in El Paso, Texas, is the leading rusher after BYU’s first two games as a a Big 12 program.

Aidan Robbins arrived at BYU this season from UNLV and was the starting running back for the first two weeks. Robbins has only rushed for 29 yards on ten attempts.

No changes to the BYU football offensive line

What about the offensive line? When talking about the ground attack, it always starts up front. Roderick said there won’t be any changes to the starting five of Kingsley Suamatia, Weylin Lapuaho, Paul Maile, Connor Pay, and Caleb Etienne.

“I like those guys, and I believe in those guys, believe in what we’re doing. I think those guys will play well on Saturday,” Roderick said.

Starting guard Connor Pay has been impressed with the freshman ball carrier from El Paso.

“He’s done remarkably well for how young he is and how hard he runs,” Pay said. “And he’s made us look good on a few runs where we didn’t block so well. There was one play in the game against SUU in the 17-yard run that he had. I didn’t do a very good job on my guy and I lost leverage on him and he broke the tackle and went for 17. All the running backs have the ability and LJ has done it really well. It’s been kind of unprecedented for him being so young to come in and do that.”

LJ Martin committed and signed with BYU last December after being committed to Stanford.

BYU vs. Arkansas

Date: Saturday, September 16, 2023

Location: Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium (Fayetteville, Arkansas)

Kickoff: 5:30 p.m.

TV: ESPN2

Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM) — Extended pregame coverage begins at Noon

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 Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Will Start Freshman RB LJ Martin Against Arkansas