Big Third Quarter Gives BYU 49-18 Win Over Western Michigan In Potato Bowl

Dec 21, 2018, 5:31 PM | Updated: 6:32 pm
(BYU Athletics)...
(BYU Athletics)
(BYU Athletics)

BOISE, Idaho – After a subpar first half, the BYU Cougars outscored Western Michigan 28-0 in the third quarter. They added a couple fourth quarter touchdowns to get the 49-18 win – their first ever victory in Boise, albeit to a different Bronco team.

BYU quarterback Zach Wilson had a record setting performance as he broke the school record for the most consecutive pass completions in a single game as he went 18-for-18 for 317 yards and four touchdowns. He was awarded the MVP of the Potato Bowl.

Running back Riley Burt added 83 rushing yards and one touchdown. Wide receiver Dylan Collie had 6 catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns.

Linebacker Sione Takitaki had an outstanding performance for the Cougars, racking up 19 tackles, including two sacks.

Defense Rules First Half

Western Michigan decided to go for it on fourth down but BYU stopped them at the 20-yard line and the Cougars would take over, 80-yards away from the end zone. WMU got the ball back and was forced to punt which basically turned into a turnover as the punt traveled just nine yards.

When BYU took over at the Western Michigan 17-yard line, it only took two plays for Wilson to connect with Collie on the first touchdown from 26-yards out. The Cougars took a 7-0 lead with 2:20 left in the second quarter.

BYU was getting some nice plays that took them to midfield but after going for it on fourth and one, the Broncos stopped them and took over with 53-yards to go to the end zone for a chance to tie the game.

Western Michigan couldn’t capitalize on the short field position and was forced to punt.

The Cougars were at midfield but turned the ball over on a bad pitch on a reverse and fumbled the ball that was scooped up by Western Michigan and the Broncos would take over at the BYU 40-yard line.

On that drive, the Broncos faced a fourth and three at the BYU 33-yard line, WMU running back Jamauri Bogan ran in a 33-yard touchdown to tie the game at seven with 3:07 left in the first half.

When BYU had their chance to take the lead back, Wilson was sacked by Western Michigan on third down and the Cougars had to punt the ball late in the first half.

Western Michigan was able to get down the field on their last possession of the first half and nailed a 37-yard field goal to take their first lead of the game, 10-7, which was the score at halftime.

BYU Breaks Game Open In Third Quarter

The Cougars had a great start to the first half as Wilson hits tight end Neil Pau’u for 48 yards to the Western Michigan 21-yard line and Wilson connected with Collie for the second touchdown of the game from 8-yards out. BYU took a 14-10 lead with 13:14 left in the third quarter.

After the Cougars forced a three-and-out for Western Michigan, BYU was called for roughing the kicker and the drive would continue for the Broncos.

BYU’s defense would step up once again as defensive tackle Khyris Tonga sacked WMU quarterback Kaleb Eleby on third down to force WMU to punt.

The Cougars separated themselves from the Broncos as running back Riley Burt ran in a 37-yard touchdown to take a 21-10 with 7:29 left in the third quarter.

On second down for WMU, BYU’s Takitaki collected his career-best 15th tackle by sacking Eleby.

After BYU defensive back Michael Shelton recovered a fumble, the Cougars scored a touchdown just two plays later as Wilson hit wide receiver Aleva Hifo for a 70-yard touchdown. BYU’s lead is stretched out to 28-10 with 5:04 left in the third quarter.

Western Michigan’s second play of their next drive, Eleby threw an interception to BYU defensive back Austin Lee, who took the ball to the Broncos 32-yard line.

BYU needed just four offensive plays to score their fifth touchdown of the game as defensive back Dayan Ghanwoloku ran in a one-yard touchdown. The Cougars have scored 28 unanswered with all four touchdowns coming in the third quarter. BYU’s lead reached 35-10 with 2:47 left in the third quarter.

Through three quarters, Wilson has yet to throw an incomplete pass, connecting on all 15 of his pass attempts for 265 yards and three touchdowns.

Wilson continued his impressive play in the fourth quarter as his first three passes in the final quarter were caught starting with a 16-yard grab by tight end Matt Bushman. Collie snatched a 31-yard grab and wide receiver Dax Milne capped the drive with a 5-yard touchdown.

BYU’s lead stretched to 42-10 with 11:38 left in the game. Wilson has thrown 18 straight completions, which is one shy of the FBS record for most consecutive completed passes. He already passed the school record of 14.

Backup quarterback Tanner Mangum entered the game and helped drive BYU down the field and fullback Brayden El-Bakri ran in a one yard touchdown run taking a 49-18 lead with 4:07 left in the game.

That was the last score of the game and BYU finished the season with a 7-6 record and a bowl victory.

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