Parker Kingston made big play after big play in BYU’s thrilling 38-31 come-from-behind victory over Arkansas on Saturday night. For his performance, Kingston was named as one of five recipients of the Paul Hornung Award Honor Roll for week three of the 2023 college football season.
The 5-foot-11 and 180-pound speedster has quickly become a household name for his impact on offense and special teams so far this season.
Leading up to the season-opener, all eyes were on the return of wideouts Kody Epps, Keanu Hill and Chase Roberts. However, Kingston, a freshman from Layton, Utah quickly made his mark and has played a pivotal role so far this season.
From big runs on special teams to a touchdown throws and touchdown receptions, Kingston helped provide the spark that the Cougars needed to walk out of Razorback Stadium with a win in front of the eighth largest crowd in Arkansas history.
After BYU got down 14-0 just five minutes into the game, the former Roy High School quarterback, took the kickoff and returned it 46 yards to set BYU up near midfield. A couple plays later, Kingston was called on again to help lead a trick play (double pass) to help change the momentum of the game.
Designed to look like a bubble screen, Kingston caught the ball from quarterback Kedon Slovis behind the line of scrimmage, and then quickly dropped back to pass as the freshman threw a perfectly thrown left-handed spiral to Dion Smith for a 40-yard touchdown pass to pull BYU with a touchdown midway through the first quarter.
“I didn’t know we were going to call the play so early in the game,” said Kingston. “I thought it would be later in the game. But we needed it early. We had been running it all week. I knew that if we executed it like we should ,it would be a touchdown, so it was awesome.”
“Parker played quarterback in high school and he’s also left-handed so he the perfect choice on the double pass,” added Chase Roberts. “We practiced it a lot this week and Parker always nailed it so we knew the play was going to be called.”
With two minutes to go in the third quarter and down by 31-24, Kingston got his first collegiate touchdown on a screen pass from Slovis as the speedster ran untouched into the end zone to tie the game up. That momentum carried over as the Cougars scored the final 17 points in the road victory.
And with so much attention garnered from the incredible one-handed catches by Isaac Rex and Chase Roberts’ in Saturday’s game — including making the top play on Sports Center — the X-factor was undoubtedly Kingston. His big kickoff return and trick play pass changed the momentum of the game and allowed BYU to get back into the contest.
In fact, Kingston joined elite company on Saturday as he became just the seventh player in program history to throw a touchdown pass and catch a touchdown pass in the same game.
On special teams, the freshman currently ranks in the Top 15 with 164 yards, for an average of nearly 28 yards per return.
Whether its kickoff returns, jet sweeps, screen plays or trick plays, Kingston is as versatile as they come and looks to play a big part of the offense and special teams for years to come. Willing to help wherever the team needs him, Kingston has already earned the trust from his coaches and teammates, and the freshman looks to have an even bigger impact on Saturday against Kansas.