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BYU in the NFL: Former Cougars Dennis Pitta & Ezekiel Ansah shine in Week 1

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1 of the NFL season featured five BYU players seeing minutes with their respective teams. TE Dennis Pitta and DE Ezekiel Ansah were by far the biggest contributors, both having very solid performances in the first week of the season. With Kyle Van Noy out for at least half the season, Pitta and Ansah will be the two former Cougars to really keep an eye on this season.

Pitta was one of the few bright spots for the Baltimore Ravens in a disappointing 23-16 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Pitta led the Ravens in receptions and finished second in receiving yardage behind veteran receiver Steve Smith. With Baltimore cutting starting running back Ray Rice after his highly publicized domestic violence case, the Ravens will need to rely more on their passing game this season and I expect Pitta to be a big part of that.

Ansah had a dominate performance on Monday night in the Detroit Lions' win over the New York Giants. Ansah spent all night pressuring Giants' QB Eli Manning and finished with a tackle, a half a sack, 4 QB hits, and a pretty impressive block on an interception return (below) in the Lions' 35-14 win over the Giants.

Dennis Pitta (Ravens): Pitta had 10 receptions for 83 yards and 0 TDs in Baltimore's 23-16 loss to Cincinnati.

Ziggy Ansah (Lions): Ansah recorded 1 tackle, 0.5 sacks, and 4 QB hits in Detroit's 35-14 win over New York.

Kyle Van Noy (Lions): Van Noy was placed on Detroit's short term injured reserve list last Tuesday. Will miss at least half the season as he recovers from surgery for a core muscle injury.

John Denney (Dolphins): Long snapper John Denney played in Miami's 33-20 win over New England, but didn't record any stats.

Daniel Sorensen (Chiefs): Sorensen recorded 1 solo tackle in his first NFL regular season game.

Brett Keisel (Steelers): Keisel had 2 tackles (1 solo, 1 assisted) and 1 QB hit in Pittsburgh's 30-27 win over Cleveland.

Dallas Reynolds (Giants): Played, but did not record any stats.

Cougars currently on NFL practice squads: Spencer Hadley (Raiders) and Hebron Fangupo (Chiefs),


In an unexpected move, Kansas City released Daniel Sorensen this afternoon after only one regular season game in the Chiefs' Organization. Hebron Fangupo was also waived from the Chiefs' practice squad.