True Freshman Is Helping Cougars Win

Like Luke Ashworth and Austin Collie before him, McKay Jacobson began helping the BYU offense as soon as he started practicing with team. True freshmen rarely make meaningful contributions to D-I football teams, but for the third consecutive year, the Cougars have a rookie receiver who is a difference maker on game day.

Last game against Colorado State, wide receiver McKay Jacobson led the Cougar offense with a career-high 105 yards receiving on only three receptions. Jacobson's performance was the first time a Cougar receiver reached the century mark since Matt Allen recorded 100 yards against Boston College.

"It was good to go there and get the win," said Jacobson. "We feel we could have played a little better but it was good to get the win. Our defense came up big in that game and we didn't have to score any more than three touchdowns. Colorado State played man coverage a little bit and pressed a little, so we had to work on getting off the ball and running good routes."

One of BYU's offensive highlights during the CSU game came when quarterback John Beck hit Jacobson deep for the longest catch of the game.

"It was fun to hit that deep one with John," said Jacobson. "We work on that every day and it was fun to finally hit that. We haven't really needed to hit the really long play yet, but it was fun to finally do that. I hope it's the first of many. It was just exciting to get the win."

On the season, Jacobson has 18 passes for 379 yards and a team-leading 21.1 yards per catch. Heading into the Wyoming game, Jacobson is averaging 42.1 yards per game with his longest reception being the 52-yard bomb he caught during the Colorado State game.

"I feel like I've gotten a lot better each week," Jacobson said. "As a receiver you don't always control when you get the ball. All you can do is just try and get open. I feel like I've had as good of games that were comparable to this past game with Colorado State.

"It just so happened that in the Colorado State game I caught a deep one for good yardage, and that always helps your average per catch along with catching other ones. I just happened to get the ball and John was able to find me."

Working out with Beck has helped both quarterback and receiver become more familiar one with another. Jacobson's participation in spring ball after graduating high school early has helped him to become more familiar with the tendencies of his senior quarterback.

"Obviously with your quarterback you have to know each other and be on the same page," Jacobson said. "You have to say things to each other without really talking and a good quarterback-wide receiver combination has that between them. It's something you have to get a feel for and obviously we've worked out since January – a lot over the summer and a lot now – to develop that. I'm sure we can get better, and it will get better as we play more together."

As he grows more comfortable in the offense and with his quarterback, Jacobson has become an integral part of a BYU passing offense that ranks 4th in the country. He has helped to stretch defenses in place of former BYU wide receiver Todd Watkins, who is now with the Arizona Cardinals.

"From a quarterback's perspective, he has to have confidence in you and the receivers," said Jacobson. "When you make plays you not only help your own confidence but you gain the confidence of your teammates. That goes for all the players who participate in playing. It's been a lot of fun"

Jacobson has proven his worth both on the practice field and under the lights during games. His growth has not only earned the trust of his teammates, it has also helped solidify his own confidence.

"Obviously you have to have a lot of confidence in yourself when your out there catching the ball," said Jacobson. "You gotta be focused on top of being confident. If your focus isn't there you're not going to be as good of a receiver. You're confidence helps you to run your routes strong and precise, but being focused helps you to be able to react better and make plays when the ball comes your way."

After developing his skills with Beck over the past year, Jacobson no longer feels like he is a true freshman only one season removed from being named to the 55th annual Texas Sportswriters Association's All-State First Team after leading the state and South Lake Carroll High School with 99 receptions for 1,631 receiving yards.

"You know I really don't feel like a freshman," said Jacobson. "I mean, to me I don't really care if I was a senior. I am glad I'm just a freshman with a few more years to play and I want to make the most of it right now, and it's been a good year and we just need to keep winning. As long as we win out and win the Mountain West Conference, go to a bowl and win that it will be a very successful year. I'm just trying to do all that I can to help the team accomplish those things."


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