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San Jose, Calif. • With a couple high-jumping 6-foot-6 wide receivers and a 6-7 defensive end Bronson Kaufusi, BYU's football team would look rather imposing on the basketball court. The Cougars even have a 6-6 safety.
Redshirt sophomore Grant Jones sort of stands out in the Cougars' defensive backfield when he gets a chance to play, which hasn't happened often. Still, Jones is a special teams standout, and made a key play last month to help BYU beat UConn when he recovered an onside kick.
Jones entered Friday night's game against San Jose State hoping to play a little more than usual. He is from nearby Concord, Calif., and his family made the 45-mile drive to Spartan Stadium.
"It will be nice to play close to home so my family can come to the game, along with some friends," Jones said earlier in the week.
After prepping at Ygnacio Valley High, Jones was lightly recruited by some smaller schools, but fulfilled a lifelong dream by attending BYU, the school his parents, brother and sister attended.
He didn't join the team until the first day of school as a freshman, missing preseason camp, then redshirted and went on an LDS Church mission to Las Vegas.
Although he was a receiver on the scout team in 2011, coaches remembered him favorably when he returned in 2014, and he got back his roster spot albeit without a scholarship, and on the other side of the ball. Now he's got his eye on developing as one of the tallest safeties in college football.
"I am going to try my best to make the most of my opportunities this year, then use the offseason to get better so I can step up even more," he said.
Another Cougar defender, lineman Theodore King, grew up in San Jose and attended Valley Christian School. King has been at BYU since 2012 but has played sparingly.
BYU played Friday night without more than half of its starting offensive line. Guards Ului Lapuaho and Kyle Johnson sat out with injuries, while center Tejan Koroma was held out for non-injury reasons.
A sophomore, Koroma had started all 21 games in his career. Parker Dawe, a junior from Pleasant Grove, started in Koroma's absence.
Running back Adam Hine, who injured his foot against Michigan, returned for the first time in six weeks and returned kickoffs in addition to his backfield duties.
Big BYU crowd
San Jose State held a "gold out" on Friday night, asking its fans to wear gold to support the Spartans.
That made it easy to differentiate SJSU and BYU fans, who showed up in force in navy blue.
BYU officials said around 3,000 tickets were sold through BYU's ticket office, but they had no way of knowing how many BYU fans bought tickets through San Jose State.
Because the UTEP-Rice game went long, CBS Sports Network pushed the kickoff time to 9:39 p.m. MST, the latest start on the mainland in BYU football history. … It was 55 degrees at kickoff. … Offensive lineman Brad Wilcox and receiver Moroni Laulu Pututau carried out the team flags and former BYU offensive lineman Scott Robinson (1981, 83-85) brought out the alumni flag.