Taysom Hill put his stamp on an otherwise bland football game with a Spider-Man leap that drew oohs and ahhs from 93,000 spectators and a national TV audience.
The Brigham Young quarterback has been running around and over Texas defensive players like the cartoon hero dashes through buildings. Hill described his third-quarter touchdown run as a “leap of faith.”
Looking for an open receiver near the Longhorn 35, Hill decided to use his own legs to sprint to the Texas end zone. Running at full steam, he planted his left foot at the 8 yard line and hurdled over saftety Dylan Haines. Hill’s momentum carried him to the 4, and he scooted the last few steps for a touchdown.
Hill’s jump ignited a BYU offense that would score 28 points in the pivotal third quarter.
Final score: BYU 41, Texas 7.
Teammates and BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall were equally impressed by the ESPN Play of the Day-worthy highlight.
“I was next to the (Texas) safeties when I turned to my left and watched (the play),” Cougars receiver Jordan Leslie said. “My mouth just dropped open.”
Hill, who would gain 99 yards on the night, enjoyed the attention in a cramped BYU media room following the game. He explained it was the first time he’s ever attempted to hurdle a defender during a game, adding he had “three or four seconds to think about it” after he broke out of the pocket.
“The Texas players were going after my knees and ankles (to make tackles),” he said. He guessed right — Haines dived low to make the stop — and Hill’s jump just symbolized what he has done to Texas the past two seasons.
Texas defensive coordinator Vance Bedford described Hill as a Heisman Trophy candidate. “Like I told you guys, he reminds me of Tim Tebow.”
Mendenhall said he is often surprised by his quarterback’s decision making. Sometimes, he wishes Hill would take a safer route, perhaps slide or run out of bounds instead of risking injury.
But that’s what makes Hill special.
“He made a lot of great decisions, but there are just some sheer athleticism things that aren’t coachable,” Mendenhall said. “He is just more poised than he was a year ago. He’s better at leadership and the game is slowing down for him.”
Hill found himself on post-office wanted posters upon his arrival to Texas. The Longhorns devised its defensive game plan to stop him after Hill embarrassed Texas for 259 yards rushing in last year’s 40-21 victory over the Horns in Provo.
Texas put up a good fight, at times, sacking him 6 times for 35 yards in losses.
That didn’t prevent Hill from becoming the game’s most exciting player. At least one of his teammates, however, wasn’t impressed.
“He’s stealing my moves,” wide receiver Adam Hine said.
Hine then broke into a big grin.
Even Texas fans, who probably never want to see Hill at DKR-Memorial again, could afford a sheepish grin after one of the most memorable plays against the Horns in years.
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