Provo • For just the fourth time since LaVell Edwards became BYU's head football coach in 1972, the Cougars started a true freshman at quarterback on Friday night against Hawaii.
Taysom Hill, the returned missionary from Pocatello, Idaho, started in place of injured Riley Nelson, whom coach Bronco Mendenhall said before the game needed "a break."
The other three freshmen quarterbacks Drew Miller (1997), John Beck (2003) and Jake Heaps (2010) lost in their starting debuts, and the most points a BYU team had scored in the debut of a freshman was 13 before Friday's game.
The Cougars surpassed that total the first play of the second quarter, when Hill threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Ross Apo.
Hill led a 77-yard touchdown drive on BYU's first possession, the first time since last year's New Mexico State game that BYU has scored on its opening drive.
He also scored on a 68-yard touchdown run.
Nelson isn't the only Cougar who sat out Friday's game. Safety Mike Hague is out two to four weeks with a torn muscle in his calf. With Hague out, Craig Bills backed up starting free safety Joe Sampson, who went to nickel when the Cougars used that defensive tactic.
Daniel Sorensen's backup at kat safety was Matt Hadley, and junior college transfer Adam Hogan was also moved up the depth chart. Another defensive back, Skye PoVey, is out at least four more weeks with a foot injury (plantar fascia).
Running back Mike Alisa suffered a right forearm injury in the first half and did not return.
Former BYU running back Hema Heimuli carried the alumni flag onto the field to start the game. Offensive lineman Braden Brown carried the team flag, and Craig Bills carried the special teams flag. ... Both coaching staffs were wearing special arm patches on Friday night to raise awareness of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.