PROVO — It was the kick that launched a nine-win season.
Walk-on Jake Oldroyd’s heroic game-winning 33-yard field goal as the clock wound down at University of Phoenix Stadium a year ago lifted BYU to an 18-16 win over Arizona. It is a moment frozen in time, the first win for new head coach Kalani Sitake, and it ushered in a new chapter in Cougar football history.
Oldroyd wasn’t supposed to even be on the road trip that day. He was barely known by a few of his teammates, who kept asking punter and friend Johnny Linehan, “Who is this guy, and can he make it?”
Yes, said Linehan. “He’s good from 60, and he’ll make it.”
Linehan didn’t even feel like he needed to look at the play; he just listened to the roar of the crowd and knew that Oldroyd had come through. It was Linehan who’d lobbied coach Ed Lamb to put Oldroyd on the plane. He didn’t even have any kicking cleats because there were only two size 12s, and Linehan got them. Oldroyd brought his green cleats from home, the same trusty cleats he used at storied Southlake Carroll High School in Texas, just in case, and they were the tools for the game- winning kick.
Just three weeks earlier, Linehan was sitting in church when he got a text from Oldroyd, asking him to come to his dorm room quickly, he’d hurt himself stretching. “I heard something pop in my knee,” he told Linehan, who ended up carrying Oldroyd on his back down some stairs to his car; Oldroyd had torn his meniscus and sprained the MCL in his knee, and it required orthoscopic surgery.
On Sept. 17, two weeks after that dramatic, game-winning kick, Oldroyd hurt his already aggravated back during warmups before the UCLA game in Provo. While he attempted a 50-yarder against the Bruins, he was injured. He didn’t kick for the Cougars again that season.
When the 2016 season ended, Oldroyd accepted an LDS mission call to South America to serve in the Chile Osorno Mission.
Today Oldroyd is eight months into his full-time church service. He is in Quellon on the island of Chiloe after assignments in Villarrica and Puerto Cisnes. According to his parents, Matthew and Jennifer Oldroyd, their son hasn’t met any football players also serving in Chile, but…