Three Observations From BYU’s 27-20 Win Over UTSA

Oct 10, 2020, 5:37 PM | Updated: Oct 12, 2020, 1:09 am

PROVO, Utah – It wasn’t pretty, but the No. 15 ranked BYU Cougars squeaked by the UTSA Roadrunners 27-20.

With less than a minute to go, the Roadrunners were going to get the ball back, but an inexplicable roughing the punter penalty gave the ball back to BYU, who breathed a sigh of relief that this game was over.

I’m curious to see how voters view this performance. The Cougars would be happy to remain ranked 15th after a serious scare in their third consecutive home game.

Sooner or later, the BYU Cougars were going to face a challenge. It’s rare that any team completely rolls through each opponent en route to a special season. Some credit needs to be given to BYU for winning a game in which they were far from who they want to be.

Here are my three observations from the first day game of the 2020 season.

Costly Mistakes Hurt BYU Offense Against UTSA

The Cougar offense had no trouble moving the football in the first half, but it didn’t result in many points. After the break, it was more of the same. Why? Costly mistakes.

BYU didn’t score a point in the first quarter, ending their streak of 16 consecutive quarters with points scored.

Their first drive looked promising after three consecutive chunk yardage plays, but Neil Pau’u fumbled the football after trying to make some nifty moves near the goal line.

The second drive ended on downs after a pass from Zach Wilson to Gunner Romney was broken up. The costly mistake on that drive was a fumbled option pitch by Tyler Allgeier that put them in a long down and distance situation.

BYU finished the first half nicely with multiple passing touchdowns from Zach Wilson, but the halftime lead could have been much larger with a cleaner half of football. 300 yards of offense at the half should result in more than 14 points.

Zach Wilson Putting Up Big Numbers

Early in the first quarter, Zach Wilson surpassed 1,000 yards for the season. It only took him 73 passing attempts to reach quadruple digit passing yards. He reached that number faster than any other quarterback in BYU history for a single season.

The Cougars have had some of college footballs greatest quarterbacks, and none of them passed for 1,000 yards faster than Wilson. Incredible.

Wilson also passed 5,000 career passing yards during the win. At this point, it’s safe to assume he will have a 3,000 yard passing season, which would put him just outside the top 10. Current Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian is currently 10th all-time with 7,464 passing yards in his only two seasons as the Cougar quarterback.

His deep ball late in third quarter to Romney was a masterpiece. I think he throws the best deep ball in college football right now.

When BYU has special seasons, it’s led by the quarterback putting up big numbers. That’s certainly the case so far in 2020.

Kavika Fonua Avoids Disaster

Early in the third quarter Kavika Fonua was called for targeting. UTSA backup quarterback Lowell Narcisse completed a pass over the middle to tight end Leroy Watson for 24 yards. After the catch, Watson was hit by Kavika Fonua who appeared to lower his head into Watson.

Like all targeting calls, the play was reviewed. Fortunately for BYU and Fonua, it was overturned and he remained in the game. The Cougars don’t have the depth at safety right now to lose Fonua.

Next week BYU travels to Texas with a matchup against the Houston Cougars, arguably the most difficult team on the schedule up to this point. Not having Fonua in the first half of matchup would have been a blow to the defense. Especially with Chaz Ah You out for the season.

If there’s one positive takeaway from this game, it’s that BYU won this game. Film review won’t be kind for Cougar players, but it’s better to learn these lessons in a victory, rather than defeat.

You can hear Matt Baiamonte every Saturday on KSL Newsradio for Cougar Sports Saturday from 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. or you can find him on Twitter here.

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