Three Takeaways From BYU’s Win Over Idaho State

Nov 17, 2019, 9:39 AM | Updated: Nov 18, 2019, 12:30 pm
Photo Courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey...
Photo Courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey

PROVO, Utah – Just like that, the home schedule for BYU football is over. That went quick. BYU posted their first winning season at home since 2016 by going 4-2 in the six games at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

The Cougars rolled to a 42-10 win over an Idaho State team that never posed a threat. BYU didn’t play the cleanest game by any means, and there are a lot of areas where the Cougars will look at the film and need to correct down the stretch, but you can’t get too upset over a 32-point victory.

Here are my three takeaways from the win.

1) Zach Wilson’s start can be chalked up to rust

Seven weeks away from game action, Wilson’s first start since September 28th started off slow. BYU’s offense didn’t score in the first 15 minutes, but then it started to pick up in the second quarter.

Wilson ended the day with 187 passing yards on 19-31 and threw two touchdown passes to just one interception.

In the postgame press conference, Wilson didn’t use any excuses if there was rust. He just said he needed to get better and continue to improve. He’ll do just that as he continues to gain more reps down the stretch run of the regular season and into the Hawaii Bowl.

2) BYU’s senior wide receivers are playing the best football of their careers

Zach Wilson had some ups and downs in his first start back since September. But Wilson was fortunate to have a pair of senior receivers to throw to. Both Micah Simon and Talon Shumway are playing the best football of their careers at the moment. Aleva Hifo would have been added to that conversation as well but he suffered a pregame injury during warmups on Saturday that kept him sidelined for the final home game of his BYU career.

Simon, who’s starting to garner buzz from NFL scouts, had a team-high 76 receiving yards while Shumway chipped in 41 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Along with the receiving yards, Simon should his versatility by handling jet sweeps usually given to Hifo. Simon ended up with 34 rushing yards and the first rushing touchdown of his career.

At the beginning of the season, BYU’s wide receivers were a question mark but these players have consistently made tough catches and it’s helped the Cougar offense show the explosive ability they’ve been craving for the first time since Kalani Sitake’s first season in 2016.

3) The trenches from BYU left you wanting to see more

One of the disappointing aspects of BYU’s win against Idaho State was the play in the trenches on both sides of the field from the Cougars. The BYU offensive line had holding penalties that negated big catches and a handful of false start penalties that killed drives. BYU’s defensive line didn’t have one sack against the Bengals.

Both lines are banged up units right now with a handful of injuries. But that’s no excuse against an FCS program. Games against teams from the FCS are usually a time to pad the stats and have career days. That wasn’t the case from the offensive and defensive lines for the Cougars.

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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