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Provo • Redshirt sophomore tight end Kaneakua Friel would love to say that the first catch of his BYU football career — which went for a touchdown last Saturday — rhymes with his last name and was a big thrill.

But he just can't, because in the back of his mind he believes the tight end breaking free in the end zone against Oregon State should have been his good friend and teammate, Richard Wilson, the sophomore who suffered a season-ending ACL tear in the third quarter.

"I would describe [the touchdown] as a lucky break for me," Friel said. "I shouldn't have been on the field. It is just so, so unfortunate that Richard got hurt. Hard to think about anything else at the time."

Wilson had surgery Tuesday and faces a long road of rehabilitation. Friel now moves into the tight end rotation with Austin Holt and Marcus Mathews. Sophomore Mike Muehlmann, who began his career as a tight end before switching to defensive end last winter, has been moved back to tight end.

"I have been waiting for an opportunity to help the team, getting on special teams and such," Friel said. "Due to some personal injuries, I haven't been able to play much, and also due to how well the personnel on our depth chart have been playing. I was just waiting for my turn, and now it is here, and I have to make the best of it."

Friel graduated from Kamehameha High School in Hawaii when he was 17, and spent two years with the team — the first as a redshirt — before an LDS Church mission to South Africa. Hamstring pulls, the result of "mission legs," he said, kept him out of most of spring camp and all but about 25 percent of fall camp.

"Hopefully, I am in the clear now," he said. "Sometimes, I feel like I am still fighting [the mission legs]. … The endurance is taking a while to get back."

Offensive line is OK

Thanks partly to Riley Nelson's mobility, teams have not been able to get sacks on the Cougars the past couple of games. BYU ranks 19th in the country in fewest sacks allowed, with six.

"I think the line has come together these last couple of weeks, in a way we haven't been together before," guard Houston Reynolds said. "I think it has been a great experience. We have come closer, and we have worked really hard to get to where we are."


BYU is on a four-game winning streak, but has not won more than four straight games since a six-game winning streak was halted by Air Force last September. … BYU's tight ends have accounted for 37 catches for 437 yards and three touchdowns.

Twitter: @drewjay —

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