Jamaal Williams’ quest to reach 1,000 yards rushing in a season for a second time has been temporarily derailed by an ankle injury.
The senior running back apparently hurt his ankle in practice early this week, and tweaked it again in warmups before the Boise State game.
Williams, who has 942 rushing yards this season, didn’t run out to midfield for the coin toss with the other team captains and spent the early part of the game riding a stationary bike on the sideline.
Williams ran for 1,233 yards as a sophomore in 2013. The other BYU players with multiple 1,000-yard seasons are Harvey Unga (three times), Curtis Brown Itwice) and Jamal Willis (twice).
Sports and politics
There is no doubt that politics have become part of college football.
Just ask anyone about the Big 12 circus regarding expansion over the past few months.
Presidential politics, however, might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you start thinking about the BYU football team playing at Boise State (8:15 p.m. MDT, ESPN).
But supporters of former Cougar graduate and independent presidential candidate Evan McMullin weren't going to miss out on an opportunity to promote their guy.
At the BYU Alumni Association CougarTown tailgate party at the parking lot of an LDS meetinghouse near Albertsons Stadium in Boise, a volunteer passed out a flyer featuring the Cougar starting lineup.
On the back featured campaign talking points, which were spelled out under the heading, "Help Evan McMullin stop Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump."
Smurf Turf curse
BYU getting off to a slow start in Boise seems to be the regular script.
In 2004, the Cougars fell behind 16-0 in the first quarter. In 2014, the Broncos jumped out to a 20-0 advantage in the second quarter. Boise State scored the first two times it had the ball on Thursday to go up 14-0.
In total, BYU has fallen behind 50-0 against the Broncos to open the three games in Boise.
Fred Warner seems to like playing in Albertsons Stadium.
The junior linebacker's 59-yard interception return for a touchdown on Thursday in the second quarter was his second pick six in as many games in Boise. As a true freshman in 2014, Warner intercepted a Grant Hedrick pass and ran 20 yards for a score.
Crazy stat line
BYU was outgained 379-114 in the first half yet trailed just 21-17 due to a pair of interceptions returned for touchdowns. Warner’s 59-yard return was followed by a 50-yard pick six from Dayan Lake. The Cougars also had a 25-yard return by Kai Nacua after a blocked field goal.
After Lake’s interception return, BYU had 134 return yards on those three plays. At the time, the Cougar offense had just 98 yards.
To play or to not play
BYU got more contributions from sophomore linebacker Butch Pau'u and freshman cornerback Troy Warner, both of whom have missed time due to injuries.
The Cougars were without a pair of offensive linemen, however, as Ului Lapuaho is still not available and Thomas Shoaf made the trip but was in a boot and street clothes on the sideline.
Defensive lineman Merrill Taliauli also didn't play.
Trying to overcome history
The BYU football team has won a lot of games and enjoyed its share of upsets over ranked opponents -- but almost all came in Provo or at neutral sites.
The last time the Cougars defeated a ranked team in a true road game was the 31-17 win at No. 17 TCU in 2006.
BYU only has two wins on the road over a team ranked in the Top 15 as the Cougars won at Arizona State in 1997 and at Pitt in 1984.
The Cougars lost the coin toss and Boise State elected to receive. ... Former Cougar and Idaho native Hans Olson ran out the the alumni flag before the game. ... Attendance at Albertsons Stadium was 34,575, not a sellout. ... Game-time weather was 55 degrees.