For weeks now, as it’s become clear No. 9 BYU would roll past the majority of its opponents during a COVID-19 impacted season, the anticipation grew as the Cougars counted down to a matchup with No. 21 Boise State.
With the opportunity to grab an elusive victory on the Smurf Turf and further enhance its resume, BYU delivered Friday night, beating Boise State 51-17, the most points the Cougars have scored against an opponent ranked in the Associated Press poll.
BYU junior quarterback Zach Wilson already had the attention of both the college football and NFL worlds, and against the Broncos, he was simply brilliant again. His halftime stats were pedestrian by the standard he’s set in 2020, but in the second half, Wilson put on a show.
In the final two quarters, Wilson completed 10 of 12 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns (he appeared to have a third touchdown pass, but it was recorded as a backward pass and TD run for Neil Pau’u) as the Cougars scored touchdowns on five straight second-half possessions. For the game, Wilson completed 21 of 27 passes for 359 yards and two touchdowns for a 213.9 quarterback rating, and he scored his eighth rushing touchdown of the season.
The Cougars’ receivers again came up huge, even when Boise State blanketed BYU’s top two wideouts — Dax Milne and Gunner Romney — early in the game. That opened up the opportunity for Pau’u to have a career game with 75 yards on five receptions, including the touchdown run and a nice catch in tight coverage for a two-point conversion.
Milne and Romney got going just before halftime, though, and posted strong numbers again, coming up with catch after catch during a 22-point third quarter. Romney finished with a team-high six receptions for 133 yards, while Milne had three catches for 99 yards.
Two other skill players also played key roles: tight end Isaac Rex had five receptions for 45 yards and two third-quarter touchdowns — he now has six touchdowns on the year — and running back Tyler Allgeier ran for a game-high 123 yards and two touchdowns on just 14 carries. He set the tone early with an 86-yard touchdown on BYU’s third play from scrimmage, as the Cougars finished with 573 yards of total offense.
BYU wasn’t perfect offensively — the Cougars didn’t score any points off two Bronco turnovers in Boise State territory, gave up a season-high three sacks and were just 2 of 8 on third down — but that second-half performance helped gloss over those issues.
The Cougar defense never let Boise State, which in previous years has built early double-digit leads on BYU at Albertsons Stadium, get into a groove offensively. Through three quarters, the Broncos had 186 yards of total offense — they finished with 310 — behind third-string quarterback Cade Fennegan, a true freshman who took over for fill-in starter Jack Sears, after Sears left with an injury midway through Boise State’s second possession. Read from source….