PROVO — BYU freshman quarterback Taysom Hill suffered a knee injury in the Cougars' 6-3 victory over Utah State Friday night.
That much school officials confirmed Saturday.
Meanwhile, there are reports circulating that Hill's injury is season-ending and that he could undergo surgery as early as Tuesday.
According to BYU football media relations director Brett Pyne, "The extent of the injury and related status is currently being evaluated. Any updates will be provided Monday."
Pyne did not offer any more information about the status of Hill's knee.
The injury apparently happened with a little more than one minute remaining in the game. The Cougars, nursing a three-point lead, had the ball and were attempting to run out the clock. Hill took the snap, ran up the middle and absorbed a hard hit to his knee. Replays show Hill limping slightly and touching his knee afterwards.
On the night, Hill, who started and played the entire game against the Aggies, had 19 carries. After the game, Hill spoke to the media and said he didn't have a problem with running the ball that many times.
In his postgame comments, BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall acknowledged that Hill's rushing attempts were "too many."
The coach also said late Friday night that senior quarterback Riley Nelson, who has been battling a back injury and has been sidelined the past two weeks, would start next Saturday against Oregon State if he is healthy.
Mendenhall added that Nelson nearly played against Utah State.
"It was very close — we gave him most of the snaps actually on Tuesday," the coach said. "We didn't think we could form an evaluation without seeing him actually perform. He could've played tonight. But I didn't think he was all the way ready or healthy … It was close, and ultimately I made that call."
Mendenhall said Friday night that if Nelson resumes his role as the starter, Hill would still see playing time.
"We'll find a role (for Hill). Certainly it's not going to go to Riley taking every snap," Mendenhall said. "If you remember, even when Riley was the starter, we had packages for Taysom coming in, and so we'll just look hard at how we can have the two compliment each other."
If Nelson returns as the starter, BYU wide receiver Cody Hoffman said Friday, making the transition back from Hill to Nelson wouldn't be difficult for the Cougar offense.
"Their playing styles are very similar. They're both athletic quarterbacks," Hoffman said. "We can adapt really quickly. If Riley is back and healthy, then we'll be just as effective as if Taysom was still our quarterback."
If Hill is out, senior James Lark will likely return to his role as Nelson's backup. In mid-September, coaches elevated Hill on the depth chart to second-string and demoted Lark to third-string.
Hill played significant minutes in the second half against Boise State in place of Nelson, and he almost led the Cougars to a comeback victory. The following week, Hill started against Hawaii and became the first true freshman in school history to win his debut as a starter.
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company