By Aaron Bagley
BYU is 7-5–obviously not what any fan wanted. We all were optimistic about our prospects coming into the season because of the experience coming back. Most of us were hopped-up on “Riley juice” but it obviously ran out this year. This has been a season of missed opportunities. However, with the Poinsettia Bowl approaching, I feel that fans should appreciate what we have at BYU this season. The record doesn’t show how much talent the Cougars have. This will be the last game for the seniors and possibly some juniors. I want to look back and pay some respect to some of the players us fans should really appreciate.
Brandon Ogletree: He is the most underrated player on the team. The last 2 seasons he has led this team in tackles, yet nobody really talks about him. Why is that? He is overshadowed with players like KVN, and Ziggy. I think he doesn’t get nearly enough credit for what he does for this defense. BYU is going to seriously miss him after this season. Enjoy having him for one last game.
Ziggy Ansah: It was a long time coming for Ziggy. This is his first season getting legitimate playing time, and boy has he mad the most of it! With this season alone, he has raised his draft stock immensely. There probably won’t ever be another player for BYU who is like Ziggy. He is a 6-6, 270 lb. LB-DE. Oh and he is one of the fastest on the team. Ziggy has a beast motor. Enjoy his last game in a Cougar uniform, soon he will be in an NFL uniform.
Riley Nelson/James Lark: I know some BYU fans (including me) are still bitter about Riley’s performance this season and probably don’t appreciate me putting him on this list. But at the end of the day, if he is healthy, he will be the starting quarterback. James Lark showed Cougar fans what possibly could have been after his memorable performance against NMSU. He is a great quarterback who just never got the opportunity.
Riley Stephenson: Never would I have imagined that Riley Stephenson would be one of the major bright spots on this team. I know he is a punter, but he bailed out the Cougars a lot by pinning the opponents deep in their territory. He is currently 2nd in national punt average. With BYU’s kicking woes this season, Stephenson’s punting makes me feel a little better.
Kyle Van Noy: To our sorrow, we know it’s coming. Unless a miracle happens and changes his mind, this will most likely be KVN’s last game in a BYU uniform. I think everybody in his situation would leave. He is my MVP this season. He has 11.5 sacks this season. 3 of them just last week against NMSU. He has one of the funnest personalities on the team and also one of the classiest guys. It is a beautiful thing watching him play football. He does it so well. Enjoy his possible last game, there won’t be a linebacker like him in Provo for a while.
Cody Hoffman: I feel a little better about Cody’s chances of staying for his senior year. However, with his 5 touchdown game last Saturday, his stock might be rising. This whole season, he has been making hard catches. Usually the only balls thrown to him have been difficult. He is one of the most talented receivers to come here, and if he stays, he is on pace to break most school receiving records. With the lack of consistency from Ross Apo, having Hoffman return would be crucial to the success of next years team. Let’s hope he returns!
All these players, and more will be missed when they are gone. Let’s focus on the positives of this team for this last game. It will be the last time one of BYU’s best defenses ever play together. Even though this season hasn’t been everything BYU fans hoped for, let’s appreciate what these players have done, and hope they end their college career with a win.