Over the years many great Brigham Young Cougars football players found their way to Provo via the Ricks Junior College football program. In 1997, one of those players was BYU's leading receiver, and helped the team avoid its first losing season in nearly 25 years.
Ben Cahoon played his prep football in BYU's back door at Mountain View High School in Orem, Utah. It took a record setting two seasons at Ricks for Cahoon to find his way to Provo. However, it took awhile for Cahoon to be the impact player he was as a Viking.
He redshirted in 1995. In his junior season, 1996, BYU was loaded with veteran receivers like K.O. Kealaluhi, Kaipo McGuire, Chad Lewis, and Itula Mili. Cahoon had just 11 receptions for 166 yards. He never had more than two receptions in a single game, or more than 33 yards receiving in a single game. With Kealaluhi, McGuire, Lewis and Mili all gone in 1997, Cahoon moved to the forefront.
Cahoon has his first 100-yard receiving game in the season opener against Washington. As much respect as 100-yard receiving games get, it was just a warm up for Cahoon.
BYU went to Tempe, Arizona for the second game of the season to play the 14th ranked Arizona State Sun Devils. On the first play of the game, Cahoon caught a 37-yard pass from Kevin Feterik to set the tone. Cahoon came up with one big reception after another. He ran wild through the Sun Devil secondary to finish the game with 219 yards receiving on 8 receptions (27.4 average). Only eight times have BYU players had more receiving yards in a single game. None have had more receiving yards since then. It was enough to help the Cougars earn the upset win, 13-10.
Through two games, Cahoon had led the Cougars in receiving twice. He finished the season with this distinction in over half of the games (six of 11). He had also topped the century mark both times.
Cahoon would have two other 100-yard games. One was against Utah State in a shootout. Cahoon's six receptions for 118 yards helped BYU prevail, 42-35. The win moved the Cougars to 3-1 on the season. The other 100-yard showing came in game seven against TCU. True freshman Drew Miller was forced into action due to injuries to the other quarterbacks. Like a true go-to receiver, Cahoon became Miller's security blanket. The freshman connected with Cahoon six times for 109 yards and one touchdown. For the game, Cahoon had a career-high 10 receptions for 142 yards and one touchdown, and BYU came away with a win, 31-10.
In another shootout against Tulsa, Cahoon came up big with two touchdowns to help BYU stay in front of the Golden Hurricane and win its sixth game of the season and assure a winning record.
When the season ended, Cahoon had the 13th most receiving yards ever in a season by a BYU player (currently 22nd most).
1997 stats: 57 receptions, 931 yards, 4 TD; 1 rush, 18 yards; 1 punt return, 5 yards
1996 stats: 11 receptions, 166 yards, 2 TD; 6 punt returns, 50 yards
Top 10 One Hit Wonders
10. Ray Crandall (1971), Jon Kormylo (1978)
9. Shane Hunter (2010)
8. Reynaldo Brathwaite (2003)
7. Ezekiel Ansah (2012)
6. Ben Cahoon (1997)
5. Ryan Hancock (1992)
4. Ethan Pochman (1996)
3. Ted Nelson (1970)
2. David Mills (1984)
1. Jay Miller (1973)
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