Toledo, Ohio • After Toledo took its final lead of the game in its 28-21 victory over BYU on Saturday, Cougar receiver Micah Simon went back out on the field hoping the offense could stage a comeback or force overtime at the Glass Bowl.
Lined up and ready to go, he looked back at the quarterback, but it wasn’t starter Zach Wilson.
Instead, redshirt freshman Jaren Hall was in his place.
“I didn’t even know [Wilson] was out,” Simon said. “I just ran on the field and I just looked back and saw 3 was at quarterback and I was like ‘alright, here we go.’”
How did we get here?
With the game tied at 21-all, Chaz Ah You got a key fumble recovery to stop the Toledo offense and put the Cougars on their own 20-yard line. Then Wilson threw an interception, which was returned for 40 yards by Khalil Robinson to put the Rockets two yards away from the goal line.
And off walked Wilson with a thumb injury sustained during the play.
After Toledo scored its go-ahead touchdown on the next play, BYU got the ball back on its own 25-yard line with 51 seconds on the clock. Hall crisply moved the Cougars 43 yards on the next six plays.
As time expired, he threw to Talon Shumway in the end zone, but just missed the receiver’s outstretched fingers.
Altogether, Hall completed 3 of 6 passes for 39 yards, and gained another 10 yards on three carries. It was an encouraging performance.
“He works hard in practice and he’s always ready for his time,” Simon said. “He put us in a good position — a really, really hard position trying to go the length of the field in 50 seconds, but he gave us a shot. That’s all you can ask for.”
BYU coach Kalani Sitake said they still need to fully evaluate Wilson’s injury more, but the sophomore will likely miss at least the next couple weeks. Hall will most likely start at South Florida on Oct. 12. BYU has a bye this coming week.
Before the injury, Wilson threw for 315 yards on 22-of-38 passing against Toledo, with two touchdowns and the one interception. He passed the 1,000 passing yard mark on his first attempt of the game and 138th of the year, making him the quickest Cougar QB to 1,000 yards in a single season since Max Hall reached the milestone in 107 attempts in 2009.
But for the near future, anyway, Hall is the guy and the Cougars say they have full confidence in his ability to get the job done.
“I know the type of work he’s put in all offseason, back to spring ball when Zach was out, and the type of player that he is,” Simon said. “We’ve got two weeks to prepare, so I know he’ll be ready. We’ll have his back and we’ll be good to go.”