Start your day with BYU football: Cougars defeat Ole Miss

Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports
Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports /

BYU football entered the 2011 season with an unknown future in independence before it. That team, led by linebacker Kyle Van Noy, started the new era with a victory at Ole Miss.

It’s hard to think about a non-Independent BYU football team now after six complete seasons without a conference.

With high-profile games against P5 schools such as LSU, Wisconsin, Utah and Mississippi State on the schedule this season, it’s impressive to see how far BYU’s scheduling has come since leaving the Mountain West Conference after the 2010 season.

But back in 2011, independence was a new feeling that left fans excited, nervous and everything in between.

The Cougars first ever visit to Ole Miss would set an early tone for the season and one could argue for an Independent BYU as a whole.

The defensive slugfest saw the Rebels take a 3-0 lead into halftime. BYU managed just 102 yards while Ole Miss had just 93 total yards at the break.

Things looked bleak for the Cougars, especially after a 96-yard Ole Miss pick-six off of Jake Heaps that extended the Rebels’ lead to 10-0 with 8:34 remaining in the third quarter.

Heaps would finally find Ross Apo for a 4-yard touchdown with 9:52 to play in the game to make it 13-7 Ole Miss.

On the next drive, BYU’s defense held tough, backing up Ole Miss to its own 21-yard line.

On a third-and-27 with just over five minutes to play, Van Noy put pressure on Ole Miss quarterback Zac Stoudt and forced a fumble. After the scramble, it’s Van Noy that ends up in the end zone with the ball to tie the game.

Related Story: BYU football: Jamaal Williams subject of new documentary film

Justin Sorensen’s PAT was good, and BYU football held on from there to start the season with a win.

BYU would go on to finish the season 10-3, capped off with a 24-17 bowl win over Tulsa.