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Lincoln, Neb. • Even while sitting on the sidelines with his fractured right foot in a walking boot, BYU quarterback Taysom Hill had a huge impact on the game-winning 42-yard touchdown pass thrown from freshman Tanner Mangum to senior Mitch Mathews.
The TD with no time left on the clock gave BYU an improbable 33-28 upset win over Nebraska on Saturday in front of nearly 90,000 shell-shocked fans at Memorial Stadium.
BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall, who announced that Hill is lost for the season due to the third season-ending injury in his four-year career, was as responsible as anyone for getting Mangum ready to take over the reins.
"Taysom's relationship with Tanner has facilitated and gave it that growing and learning rate faster than any of us coaches could have done," Mendenhall said. "This thing just keeps coming back to Taysom, and he has had a huge helping hand with Tanner and allowed him to develop so quickly."
Hill suffered a season-ending knee injury his freshman year against Utah State and a season-ending fractured ankle his junior season, also against the Aggies.
"There's no player or person that I've coached that I care about more than Taysom," Mendenhall said. "So [the win] is bittersweet."
Mendenhall said Hill suffered the Lisfranc fracture on his 21-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. He was not touched on the run, but apparently he suffered the injury while planting his foot on Memorial Stadium's artificial turf. A penalty flag was thrown on the play, and most suspected it was coming back, but the call was a hands-to-the-face penalty on the Huskers.
Hill has not taken a redshirt year yet, but Mendenhall said it would be premature to speculate on whether the senior will apply for it and try to return.
"It is a little too fast and too early right now to even think about, so I don't know," Mendenhall said. "Taysom has a bright future in the world of business, finance and family. We will let this all kind of calm down for a little bit and maybe have a clearer head with a different perspective. I will let him speak for himself on that one."
Hill was spectacular in the first half in guiding the Cougars to a 24-14 lead, completing 17 of 25 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown, a 15-yard strike to Mathews. He was taken to the locker room in the second quarter, but he returned to the game and finished a 55-yard drive that Mangum started.
"Our athletic training staff said they'd never seen anyone go back and play in the same game once that [Lisfranc injury] has happened," Mendenhall said.
The native of Pocatello, Idaho, finished with 268 yards passing yards, completing 21 of 34 throws, with one interception.
"My heart goes out to him," said defensive end Bronson Kaufusi, the other captain. "Man, I love that guy."
Taysom Hill's stats against Nebraska
Passing • 21 of 34 for 268 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception
Rushing • Nine carries for 72 yards, 2 touchdowns