COUGAR TRACKS

Instant Analysis: BYU, Zach Wilson Make Statement On Big Blue Stage

Nov 7, 2020, 12:47 AM | Updated: 3:57 am
Zach Wilson - BYU - Boise State...
BYU quarterback Zach Wilson (1) delivers a pass as BYU and Boise State play a college football game at Albertsons Stadium in Boise on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. (Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)
(Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News)

BOISE, Idaho – No. 9 BYU led by QB Zach Wilson crushed No. 21 Boise State by a score of 51-17.

The win moves BYU to an 8-0 record, the first time that has happened since 2001. It’s the first time BYU has defeated Boise State on the Blue Turf in Boise.

Boise State drops to 2-1 and loses its lone non-conference game this season.

Why BYU won

BYU pulled away early in the third quarter. Going into the halftime locker room, BYU was only up 16-3 after forcing two Boise State turnovers but couldn’t capitalize on those two takeaways. Head coach Kalani Sitake said he wasn’t pleased with the way his team played in the first half, but he was happy to see the players leading adjustments in the halftime locker room.

The player leadership led the charge, and that charge carried over onto The Blue in the third quarter. BYU’s first five drives of the second half all resulted in touchdowns. BYU reeled off 28 consecutive points on a Broncos team, which is usually the one dishing out the beatdowns here in their home venue.

Biggest Takeaway

Zach Wilson deserves every ounce of Heisman talk sent his way. The former Boise State commit came up short here in Idaho as a true freshman in 2018, getting stuffed at the goal line. Two years later, Wilson and the BYU offense showed their maturity and evolution.

Wilson passed for 359 yards and completed 77 percent of his passes. QB ratings over 200 aren’t usually common, but it’s become the norm for Wilson, who pieced together a QBR of 213.9 against Boise State. Those are numbers that warrant serious Heisman consideration.

Player of the Game: Zach Wilson

Wilson is the easy choice here as he continued to lead an explosive BYU offensive attack. The first half was lackluster due to playcalling, but once things opened up, it was all systems go for Wilson and the offense. Wilson completed four passes of 38 yards or more on Friday night.

Others considered for player of the game included Dax Milne, Gunner Romney, Keenan Pili, and Khyiris Tonga.

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

*BYU erased the demons of the Blue Turf with a 34-point victory. This was the first time since 2001 that Boise State suffered a home loss by more than 20 points. That was 19 years ago when the Broncos barely arrived in the WAC. A lot has changed since then.

*Gunner Romney finished with a team-high 133 receiving yards on six catches. Romney battled through what appeared to be a lot of pain. The junior wideout injured his arm and was in clear pain, but still managed to play and big plays in the receiving game.

*Kalani Sitake gave a lot of praise to defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki for his gameplan. Tuiaki called a masterful defensive scheme from here in the booth at Albertsons Stadium. The Cougars incorporated a four-man defensive front, and Boise’s offense couldn’t find its footing until a pair of back-to-back deep balls midway through the fourth quarter.

*Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin recognized how balanced BYU is as a team. The Cougars finished Friday night with 359 passing yards and 214 rushing yards. BYU is 5-0 in games where they pass for 300-plus yards and run for 200 or more. That’s a recipe that always equals victories for BYU; the Cougars are 50-0 all-time when putting up those kinds of numbers.

*Red Zone was a big focus for BYU entering the season, and it appears all of that work is having a big payoff. BYU was 6-for-6 in red zone attempts on The Blue.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.

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Instant Analysis: BYU, Zach Wilson Make Statement On Big Blue Stage