PROVO, Utah – The BYU Cougars sailed to an easy victory to start the 2020 season against the Navy Midshipmen.
The Cougars forced a three and out on the first possession and scored shortly after on a 34 yard touchdown run by sophomore Tyler Allgeier. It was all BYU from the moment this game began.
There are a number of positives that came out of this blowout win for BYU. Here are just three of many that stuck out to me.
1. BYU was dominant in the trenches
It would be easy to give all the credit to Tyler Allgeier and Lopini Katoa for running wild on the Navy defense, but you have to credit the offensive line for opening up huge lanes for the Cougar running backs.
Fall camp offensive MVP Clark Barrington made a living at the second level. The entire offensive line deserves a game ball for the job they did setting the tone in the trenches. Navy was a top 10 rush defense a season ago and this BYU offense line had their way. The Cougars rushed for 301 yards.
BYU had 193 yards on the ground in the first half. That’s the 11th highest first half amount in program history.
Defensively, the commitment to stopping the run was impressive. The Cougar defense held Navy to only 119 rushing yards. The Midshipmen averaged over 360 yards per game a season ago, which makes the defensive performance even more impressive. Yes, the Midshipmen lost their star quarterback Malcolm Perry to graduation, but still, shutting down the triple option is no easy task.
2. Pepe Tanuvasa shines in his return to Annapolis
Pepe Taunavasa waited a long time for this moment. A lot has changed since he last played in a game. He transferred from Navy after the 2018 season in which he recorded 32 tackles. The COVID-19 pandemic happened, cutting short a valuable spring offseason. He also got married to current UVU star volleyball player Kazna Tarawhiti.
His debut as a BYU Cougar was outstanding. I have to believe that he had an impact helping BYU prepare for the triple option. He was assignment sound and helped limit starting quarterback Dalen Morris to only two yards on seven carries.
It makes more sense now why the Cougar staff was comfortable moving Kavika Fonua and Chaz Ah You out of the linebacker room.
Tanuvasa led the cougar defense with eight tackl
3. Masen Wake first career reception
Sophomore tight end Masen Wake made his first career reception in the second quarter that resulted in a hurdle from the big fella.
The catch went for five yards. Why is this important? With the loss of Matt Bushman for the season, offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes was forced to turn to young, inexperienced tight ends to fill the void.
Last season as a freshman, Wake played in 12 games but didn’t register a catch. He was a reliable, run blocking tight end/full back. I believe it’s critical to use Wake in the passing game to keep the defense honest, and that’s exactly what this moment showed me in the second quarter.
Wake won’t be leading the tight end group in receptions come season end, but if he’s a threat to catch the football, then it makes it that much harder to defend the Cougar offense.
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