BYU Football Injury Report Entering Iowa State Game
Nov 8, 2023, 11:46 PM
PROVO, Utah – BYU football is looking to end a two-game losing streak at home this Saturday when they host Iowa State.
Both teams come into the matchup with 5-4 records, looking to get one more win to clinch bowl eligibility. The only problem for BYU is that they are a banged-up group as they enter a game that looks like a potential bowl-elimination game.
BYU and Iowa State each have difficult schedules after Saturday night. This weekend, the postseason hangs in the balance in a blackout game under the lights at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) November 9, 2023
Let’s run through the latest injury tidbits surrounding the BYU football team.
QB Kedon Slovis is “improving,” but his status is TBD
On Wednesday, BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick said he plans to start Jake Retzlaff at quarterback against Iowa State. Slovis continues to deal with various injuries that include shoulder and elbow on his throwing arm.
“Kedon’s improving; he made a few throws [Wednesday],” said BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick. “He’s healing, but he’s not all the way there yet. We’re unsure if he’ll be available Saturday or not.”
Roderick later added, “He was in a lot of pain last week, he couldn’t grip the ball. Just having trouble throwing, so we just had to pull him back.”
LJ Martin is expected to play
BYU running back LJ Martin has missed the previous two games due to an injury suffered in the Texas Tech game. He was cleared to play last week at West Virginia but never took a snap.
Offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick said Martin “wasn’t quite ready” a week ago. But then followed up, saying, “he’ll play this week.”
Martin remains BYU’s leading rusher at 438 yards this season on 96 carries. He’s averaging 4.6 yards per carry and has scored four touchdowns on the ground.
“Hoping” to get Paul Maile back on the offensive line
BYU starting guard Paul Maile missed the West Virginia game due to injury. His absence was notable as BYU’s offensive line struggled without him. Roderick said he’s “hopeful” that Maile could play this week.
The same goes for Missouri State transfer Ian Fitzgerald, who replaced an injured Weylin Lapuaho earlier this year against Cincinnati.
If Maile and Fitzgerald are unavailable, BYU will start Weylin Lapuaho and Caleb Etienne at guard. Another option is sophomore Tyler Little.
Kody Epps latest
Earlier in the week, BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said that wide receiver Kody Epps was “looking pretty positive in the testing” during his protocol checks. Sitake added, “There’s a chance that he could play this weekend.”
Epps left last week’s game at West Virginia in the second quarter after taking a hard hit from a West Virginia defender. BYU coaches haven’t officially said a concussion, but it appeared to be an injury around the head area, causing him to go through testing and protocols.
It’s been a difficult season for Epps as he has navigated various injuries. Epps has only appeared in five games this season, hauling in eight catches for 81 yards.
Darius Lassiter’s status is up in the air
Big play receiver Darius Lassiter suffered an injury during the loss at Texas. He pushed through the injury, according to Kalani Sitake and after that setback in Austin, he was sidelined. Lassiter didn’t make the trip to Morgantown last week.
His status remains up in the air.
The receivers are one of the most banged-up units on BYU’s roster at the moment. It creates an opening for true freshman Jojo Phillips to earn more playing time. He made his debut last week against the Mountaineers.
Interior of BYU’s defensive line is banged up
BYU is expected to be without Caden Haws (undisclosed) and John Nelson (right ankle) again this Saturday against Iowa State. Nelson will be missing his third consecutive game. Last week was Haws’ first missed game of the season due to injury.
Carrying the bulk of the snaps along the interior of the defensive line without those two is Jackson Cravens and Atunaisa Mahe.
Edge rusher is expected to be out
True freshman John Henry Daley missed last week’s game at West Virginia due to an injury. BYU defensive coordinator Jay Hill is not expecting Henry Daley to be available on Saturday against Iowa State.
The positive to Daley being out is that he could redshirt this season. He’s already appeared in three games. If he only appears in one game the rest of the season, this year can be a redshirt. Daley is viewed as a potential key piece in the future at defensive end.
Defensive coordinator Jay Hill said this could be the week that Talan Alfrey makes his debut for the season. Alfrey has been sidelined with an injury he suffered in fall camp. The starters at safety right now are Ethan Slade and Crew Wakley.
Jay Hill with an injury update for the #BYU defense heading into the Iowa State game.
— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) November 8, 2023
Alfrey started nine games last season at free safety.
Special Teams gunner remains out
BYU has been without one of its top special teams weapons in freshman Marcus McKenzie. The former Pine View High School star has been injured the past few weeks. He remains out for this week’s game against Iowa State.
Replacing McKenzie as gunners are Jacob Boren and Mory Bamba.
BYU vs. Iowa State
Date: Saturday, November 11, 2023
Location: LaVell Edwards Stadium
Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. (MT)
Radio: KSL NewsRadio (102.7 FM, 1160 AM) — Extended pregame coverage begins at 6 p.m.
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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