Three Takeaways From BYU’s 31-24 Victory Against Liberty

Nov 9, 2019, 11:41 PM
Photo courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey...
Photo courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey

PROVO, Utah – A win’s a win.

One month ago, BYU was 2-4 and it was a low point of the season. Now after Saturday night’s victory over the Liberty Flames, BYU is on a three-game winning streak and one game away from securing bowl eligibility.

Nothing about BYU’s seven-point win over the Flames came easy. Liberty featured a quarterback in Buckshot Calvert who in his 40th consecutive start was what you would expect from a guy who’s had that many starts. Confident, in command of the offense, and getting the ball to your playmakers. Having continuity at the quarterback position is a valuable thing.

But at the end of the day, a win’s a win. What did we learn from this game? Here are my three takeaways.

#1 Baylor Romney showed well again, but Wilson getting close to assume QB1 role again

Redshirt freshman quarterback Baylor Romney is now 2-0 as a starter for BYU. Not bad and he has shown well in all four of the games he has played in this season. In Saturday night’s win over Liberty, Romney threw for 262 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. At times, Romney appeared to force the issue a little bit, but overall it was another solid outing from the quarterback who still has yet to receive a scholarship. That should change very soon if it hasn’t already.

Zach Wilson participated in pregame warmups was dressed in his gameday uniform while he watched from the sideline while sporting a backward Nike team cap. With Wilson continuing to improve in regards to recovery from surgery on his thumb, it’s only a matter of time before we see Wilson starting at quarterback once again for BYU.

#2 Dayan Ghanwoloku’s switch to cornerback helped BYU secure a victory

Senior defensive back Dayan Ghanwoloku started at safety for BYU but ended up back at cornerback. BYU had no answer for Liberty’s All-American candidate wide receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden. Starting cornerback Isaiah Herron had moments of success, but it was tough to contain a receiver who had strong chemistry with his quarterback.

Along Herron, BYU tried having freshmen Shamon Willis (who changed his jersey to No. 29 in honor of his father, Jamaal Willis) and George Udo defend Gandy-Golden, but the Cougars had to make adjustments. That adjustment came in the form of Ghanwoloku switching back to cornerback where he started the first five games this season. Ghanwoloku gave up yards to Gandy-Golden as well, but he made the receiver work for everything he got and it helped BYU down the stretch as they found a way to hold off the upset-minded Flames.

#3 Micah Simon is having a great senior season

You can’t help but be happy for guys who have put in a ton of work to get where they are. Senior wide receiver Micah Simon is one of those guys and it’s paying off for him as every week, he’s making big plays for BYU to win ball games.

On Saturday, Simon had one of the plays of the night by throwing a pass to Matt Bushman on a trick play that resulted in a touchdown. With that touchdown pass, Simon – a former high school quarterback – now has a quarterback rating of 504.4 this season. He had another pass in last week’s win at Utah State.

Simon was the first BYU player since Byron Rex in 1992 against rival Utah to throw a touchdown pass and haul in a receiving touchdown in the same game. On the season, Simon now has 418 receiving yards and two touchdown grabs.

Along with the big plays, Simon has been a leader in the locker room for Kalani Sitake’s program this season. During the postgame press conference, Sitake was excused to leave the presser, but Simon politely asked him to stay and Kalani said he would stay to show support for his senior leader while he took questions from the media.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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Three Takeaways From BYU’s 31-24 Victory Against Liberty