PROVO — Game Day is finally here in Provo.
But how many players on the BYU football team will be suiting up?
The Cougars will open the first of six scheduled home games at LaVell Edwards Stadium at 8:15 p.m. MDT Saturday. But recent injuries and a round of COVID-19 that hit the program just two weeks ago could leave BYU shorthanded.
ESPN’s Rece Davis reported during College GameDay that BYU could be missing “as many as a dozen” players due to various ailments.
That will include linebacker Chaz Ah You, who will miss the remainder of the season after having surgery on a pre-existing ailment in his lower leg Friday, a BYU football spokesperson confirmed. The 6-foot-2 Timpview High product who was listed as the Cougars’ starting “cinco” — a hybrid linebacker/safety role — tweeted Friday that surgery was successful.
BYU does not comment on injuries except to determine if they end a player's season. The Cougars have already had a handful of season-ending injuries, including tight end Matt Bushman, running back Jackson McChesney and running back Hinckley Ropati, among others.
The reported dozen would likely include offensive lineman Tristen Hoge. The fifth-year senior starter at right guard was one of the Cougars’ positive diagnoses for COVID-19 that prompted the postponement of the game at Army, his father Marty said this week on Twitter.
Complicating the younger Hoge’s recovery was a bout with pneumonia that was confirmed after he was cleared to return to practice Monday, Marty Hoge said.
“It’s affected his lungs severely. Lucky enough, there was no fluid in his heart,” the elder Hoge added. “That being said, health is more important than football. No one is more healthy than that kid. I know his diet, follows all the protocols, wears a mask, social distancing, lives by himself; he was not immune.
“Those of you who are skeptical if it’s just a cold or a cough or no effects — I’ve got to admit I was one of them, but when it hits home, it’s real. The school, the coaches, the players all have to take it seriously. Fans have to take it seriously. This world has to take it seriously. Believe me, it’s no joke.”
HOW TO WATCH, STREAM, LISTEN
Game 2: Troy (1-0) at No. 18 BYU (1-0)
Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. MDT
TV: ESPN (Dave Flemming, Rod Gilmore, Stormy Buonantony)
Live stats: KSL.com Game Center
Series history: First meeting
Venue: LaVell Edwards Stadium (capacity: 63,725)