Flashback: Super Sophomores (1981)

Fans have plenty of reasons to be excited to see the 2011 Brigham Young Cougars football team this fall. Foremost among those reasons is a quartet of sophomores. Quarterback Jake Heaps, running back Joshua Quezada, wide receiver Cody Hoffman, and linebacker Kyle Van Noy are looking to build on their freshman successes to have super sophomore seasons.

Thirty years ago, BYU had another set of super sophomores who were a vital part of the 1981 team winning 11 games. Here is a look at each players’ resume and contribution to the team that year.

Todd Shell, LB
58 tackles, 2 sacks, 2 interceptions, 3 fumble recoveries, 2 touchdowns
WAC Defensive Player of the Week (10/3)

Shell was sixth on the team in total tackles, tied for first on the team in fumble recoveries, and tied for third on the team in total interceptions. He returned both of his interceptions for touchdowns. The first one was in the season opener at Long Beach State. The second broke a 26-26 tie against Utah State to give BYU a 32-26 win.

Gordon Hudson, TE
67 receptions, 960 yards, 10 touchdowns
Second team All-WAC
WAC Offensive Player of the Week (11/21)

Hudson’s 67 receptions were the third most in a season in BYU history (currently 8th most). The 960 receiving yards was the fourth most in a season in BYU history (second most by a tight end). In the game against Colorado State, Hudson caught 11 passes for 117 yards and 3 touchdowns. His biggest game of the season came in the regular season finale versus Utah. Hudson set an NCAA record for most receiving yards by a tight end in a single game with 259 yards on 13 receptions. He also scored two touchdowns against the Utes.

Waymon Hamilton, RB
96 rushes, 394 yards, 14 touchdowns
32 receptions, 387 yards, 2 touchdowns
Second team All-WAC

Hamilton set a couple of school scoring records. His 16 touchdowns was the most touchdowns ever scored in a single season, and the 96 points from those touchdowns broke the school record for most points scored in a season. Hamilton was second on the team in rushing yards and fourth on the team in receiving yards. He scored three rushing touchdowns versus UNLV and had a 42-yard touchdown run against Utah State.

Vai Sikahema, RB
35 rushes, 242 yards, 3 touchdowns
11 receptions, 97 yards
11 kick off returns, 188 yards
44 punt returns, 377 yards

Sikahema was BYU’s do everything back. He accumulated 904 all-purpose yards. He was the team’s third leading rusher. His best game running the ball was against UTEP. Sikahema rushed for 87 yards on just 8 carries (10.875 yards per carry).

If Van Noy can match Shell’s play, Hoffman can match Hudson’s production, Quezada can score like Hamilton, and Heaps can be BYU’s do everything quarterback, then these super sophomores should make 2011 as memorable as 1981.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com