Three Observations From BYU’s Halloween Night Win Over WKU

Nov 1, 2020, 12:29 AM | Updated: 1:21 am
BYU Cougars - Western Kentucky Hilltoppers...
(Courtesy of BYU Photo)
(Courtesy of BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – BYU scored touchdowns on every drive in the first half as they cruised their way to another dominant victory over Western Kentucky 41-10.

There weren’t many tricks on Halloween night, but Zach Wilson and the offense provided plenty of treats. Wilson had four first-half touchdowns, two of which were passing touchdowns over 20 yards. He continues to show his improved accuracy on deep throws.

His first deep pass of the game to Gunner Romney was as perfect as a pass you’ll see in college football.

There’s more on Romney and the wide receivers in my three observations from the Cougars 7th win of the season.

For BYU, it was their first win on Halloween night since 1992 versus Penn State.

1. George Udo at the “Cinco” position

I’m still unsure why there is a hybrid position named “Cinco” for the BYU defense, but whatever is required for that position, sophomore defensive back George Udo possesses it.

Kavika Fonua was unavailable against Western Kentucky. Chaz Ah You is out for the season, so the starting position was given to Udo. It’s a small sample size, but it looks like Kalani Sitake found a diamond in the rough.

Udo had five tackles and one tackle for loss. He showed his athletic ability by making open-field tackles while covering slot receivers in space.

He’s an ideal nickel-type defensive back in today’s college football game. I’m excited to see his role expand as he gains more experience. BYU is fortunate to have several “hybrid” type defenders on the defense for years to come.

2. BYU Wide Receivers

Gunner Romney made his return after missing last week with a hamstring injury. It’s incredible the leap he’s taken from last season. He had 31 receptions for 377 yards and two touchdowns. It’s safe to assume he’ll surpass those 31 catches, and he’s already passed his yardage total. He’s up to 515 yards receiving in 2020.

His counterpart Dax Milne continues his stellar play. He’s easily the favorite target of roommate Zach Wilson. He’s already exceeded 700 receiving yards on the season. The last receiver to have over 700 reception yards was Mitch Mathews in 2015. With three games remaining, I think there is a realistic shot that Milne will haul in over 1,000 yards. The last receiver to have over 1,000 yards in a single season was Cody Hoffman in 2012.

The one guy who hasn’t shown significant improvement is junior receiver Neil Pau’u. I expected Pau’u to have a bigger role on this team, but he’s been overshadowed by Romney and Milne. He had several dropped passes against Western Kentucky. He hasn’t been bad necessarily, but he hasn’t taken the same leap forward as Milne and Romney.

3. Cougar Pass Defense

Western Kentucky had a hard time throwing the football against this BYU defense. Quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome threw for only 106 yards on 19 completions. His longest pass of the game was for 14 yards.

BYU is 29th in the country in passing yards allowed, just under 200 yards per game. BYU was without Chris Wilcox, but the Cougar secondary had no issues. They’ll face a much tougher passing attack next week against Boise State.

Unfortunately, senior defensive back Zayne Anderson got hurt near the end of the first half. He was seen on the sideline on crutches in the second half. He’ll be hard to replace. Jared Kapisi has big shoes to fill in place of Anderson, who was playing great football this season.

The stage is now set for BYU and Boise State. A New Years six bowl game invitation is likely on the line for the Cougars.

Boise State held up their end of the deal by defeating Air Force 49-30. It’s unknown whether Bronco starter Hank Bachmeier will be available. Backup quarterback Jack Sears, a transfer from USC, did well in his absence, throwing for 280 yards and three touchdowns.

It will likely be the only chance for the Cougars to get a win against a ranked opponent.

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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