PROVO – BYU backup running back Jackson McChesney and made a considerable impact in the Cougars’ season-opener in the Navy.
Highland’s 6-foot, 205-pound redshirt freshman rushed 11 times for 56 yards and a touchdown in the thumping midshipmen on Monday. Mekshesny scored on a 9-yard TD run in the fourth quarter with a foot injury – known as the Lispransk fracture – that would sideline him for the rest of the season.
“It is unfortunate what happened to Jackson. He did that when he got into the game and he continued to play, ”coach Kalani Sitke said Thursday night. “His last play in 2020 was a touchdown, so that was a good way to go out. But we’ll take it back. He is a strong, resilient child. He will be back with us soon and we will be ready to roll with him again. … It was tough because I know how hard he worked … to reach this point. “
For the past several weeks, BYU’s running back room has gone through several changes, including McKessney’s season-end injury.
In July, Devonta’e opted to transfer Henry-Cole, a transfer from Utah, to the state of Utah. He was essentially replaced by junior college transfer Hinckley Ropati, who was ruled out with an injury. Then during fall camp, Bruce Garrett entered the transfer portal.
Meanwhile, sophomore Sion Feinu, who finished the 2019 season with a team-high 359 yards, but a knee injury during a practice in November, is slowly coming back from that injury.
McKenney is the second BYU offensive player to be lost for the season. Earlier this month, BYU Tait and Matt Bushman suffered Akilis injuries and underwent surgery.
“We were a little disappointed in some of the injuries that we have. Hinckley Ropati is also injured. “The sooner we return to Sione Finau, the better. He is seeing that he is ahead of schedule in his conditioning and rehab and everything. “
Over the years, many Cougars have experienced a Lisfranc injury, including defensive back Troy Warner, quarterback Taysom Hill, tight end Moroni Laulu-Pututau and defenseman David Tafuna.
“It seems that the type of injury with the foot, specifically, Lisprink has been an issue, whether it is shoes or surfaces or turf, I have no idea,” Seetech said. “We have to keep going.”
So how does the Cougar offense accommodate the loss of a former Lone Peak star McKenney?
Against the Navy, the Cougars ran for 301 yards, including 132 by Tyler Alzier and 80 by Lopini Bhata. Other running backs on the depth chart include Finau, Ropati, Luke Andrada, Jewell Brown and Chase Wester.
Alzier, who spent time at both linebacks and running back last season, surpassed his yard total riding yards (119 yards total) in 2019 against the Navy.
Sitting indicated that he could do what he has done in the past – to move the players to different positions to compensate for the void in that situation.
“We had to run Tyler Alzier back from linebacker last year,” he said. “We have a lot of people who, along with defense, can swing that path and also change positions. Defensive lineman Khairis (Tonga) mentions that he would also like to play back. So (defensive lineman) Bracken El-Bakri and I’m sure (offensive lineman) Brady would like Christenson. Right now, we feel comfortable with the two people we have and regaining Sione. We have many people who can fit in this and we will see how they work. Without giving too far, I think we’ll be fine there. “
McKesney announced his position on his Instagram account on Thursday morning.
“The season started and ended quickly for me. I am unable to continue the 2020 season due to some torn ligaments in my leg. “I had a successful surgery this morning and am hoping to recover soon. I can’t wait to be back on the field next time with the boys. “
In 2019, the former Lone Peak star ran for 274 yards as a true freshman – with 228 carries on 15 carries in BYU’s win over UMU. That performance broke the new record at BYU for single-game rushing and was the sixth-best performance in school history.
In 2019, McKenney’s older brother, Austin, retired from football after suffering multiple ACL injuries. The former Cougar defensive back played nine matches and suffered a season-ending injury in a win in 2016 in Cincinnati.