On October 3rd, 2014, BYU was riding high off of a solid 4-0 start behind recently deemed legend quarterback, Taysom Hill. After taking care of business against Connecticut, Taysom Hill put himself on the map with the iconic “hurdle” against Texas and handed Charlie Strong his first loss at Texas by the score of 41-7. The Cougars got to 4-0 two weeks later after defeating Houston and Virginia and went into the bye week ranked #18 in the country.
This had everything in the works for a special season as the next three games on the schedule were Utah State, Central Florida and Nevada. The expected outcome was a 7-0 start heading into Boise in late October as BYU would have been significant favorites in all of those games leading up to Boise State.
Would have been is the key phrase, as that ended up being far from reality.
Taysom Hill led BYU on two 75 yard touchdown drives before breaking his leg late in the second quarter against Utah State. That moment was the beginning of the end for the BYU football season. Everyone in Lavell Edwards stadium could feel it.
A record of 7-0 quickly became 4-3 heading into the Boise State game as the Cougars were never able to get to the level of play they once had with their Heisman hopeful.
Fast-forward to the present and it goes without saying that A LOT has happened in two years. BYU went on to salvage the season with Christian Stewart in 2014, winning the last 4 games of the season before the infamous loss and brawl against Memphis in the bowl game to finish 8-5 on the year.
2015 was supposed to be the return of Mr. Hill and that was ultimately short lived as BYU again lost their star to injury. This time it was in the first half of the first game. Taysom had to observe from the sidelines during the final game of the year as his team got revenge against Utah State.
Not long after, Bronco packed up his mobile home and moved the family across the country and mumblings of Taysom to Virginia began to spring up. But, Taysom stuck it out with BYU and passed up the chance to stick with long time coaches in Mendenhall and Anae and opted for first time coaches in Kalani and Detmer.
To say that Taysom is no longer the player that he was during that 2014 season would be an understatement, but this Saturday he has the opportunity to leave that dark moment of two years ago behind him as he plays his final game at Lavell Edwards Stadium.
Many forget that Taysom has actually played against Utah State twice before the game in 2014, winning both. His freshmen year in 2012 he accumulated 234 yards through the air and 82 yards on the ground in what somehow only translated to 6 points for BYU. Luckily for the Cougars, their defense was phenomenal and only gave up 3 points and led them to victory. A year later, Taysom built on that 2012 game by dominating in 2013 with 278 yards passing and 155 yards rushing in a 31-14 rout.
The 2016 version of Taysom has been polarizing among fans to say the least, but much of that can be alleviated with a big win Saturday. There is no doubt that this game has been circled on his calendar since he decided to come back. If Taysom and the boys are able to do what they should be able to do Saturday, BYU will be in a position to do something they haven’t been able to do since Hill stepped on campus and that is win 9 games.
A special season ended against Utah State two years ago, but this game has all the potential for capping off a pretty darn good one.