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Three Observations From BYU’s Win Over North Alabama

BYU RB/DB Kavika Fonua scored his first career TD on a pass from Heisman Trophy hopeful Zach Wilson against North Alabama. (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

PROVO, Utah – The BYU Cougars picked up their 9th win of the season in dominating fashion over North Alabama. It’s been 19 years since the Cougars started a season 9-0.

Zach Wilson threw four touchdown passes and the Cougar offense scored on every possession in the first half to put this one away early.

Kalani Sitake and company hope the ending of this season won’t mirror what happened back in 2001.

BYU had their sights on the BCS championship game, but a giant Hawaiian tidal wave sunk the ship on December 8, 2001 at Aloha stadium.

The Cougars will have a chance to redeem that loss back in 2001 when they play another December matchup against the visiting San Diego State Aztecs.

It doesn’t appear that the Aztecs will be much of a challenge, but anything can happen.

Sitake made it clear after the 66-14 victory that his team is willing to play more football games before then. Let’s hope another game is added before the Aztecs visit Lavell Edwards Stadium.

Here are my three observations from week twelve.

1. Kavika Fonua finds the end zone

It’s been a wild ride for senior Kavika Fonua.

He led the team with 83 tackles as a linebacker in 2019. The linebacker position was a big question mark and Fonua wasn’t a guy many fans thought would crack the rotation after moving back to defense following a nasty injury in 2018.

Fonua turned out to be one of the great surprises of the year. It appeared that he had finally found a home as a linebacker.

Well, that all changed in 2020. The Cougar defense tweaked their scheme and he changed positions again. This time, he would play as a hybrid safety/linebacker. Unfortunately, that didn’t last long.

With depth a running back becoming an issue, Fonua is back at running back.

He carried the ball seven times for 37 yards and caught four passes for 36 yards and two touchdowns.

It was awesome to see him score his first two touchdowns of his career, one that began back in 2014. This season has been full of great moments like the one we saw with Fonua finding the end zone.

2. Pinpoint accuracy

If there’s one skill from Zach Wilson that will immediately translate to the next level, it’s his ability to place the football in tight windows.

His accuracy on deep throws over 20 yards this season is incredible. Wilson opened the game with a bomb to Gunner Romney on the first drive. Romney made a sweet catch, but Wilson put the ball in a place where his guy could make a play.

His fourth down touchdown pass to Isaac Rex was superb, just high enough over the defenders outstretched arms.

Wilson finished his afternoon with an effortless 58 yard torpedo to Dax Milne. It’s the type of pass that NFL scouts will drool over.

He leads the nation in pass efficiency at 205.32. I’m tired of hearing about the strength of schedule. What he has done week in and week out is impressive.

Let’s not forget that dominating win in Boise a few weeks ago as evidence of what this team can do against qualify opponents.

Offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes deserves some praise for what he’s done with the offense since he got here in 2018.

Cougar fans were begging this offense to have any semblance of a deep passing attack during his first season.

Now, BYU has the best deep passing attack in college football.

3. Son passes father

Nobody expected freshman Isaac Rex to have the season he’s had so far. He was supposed to learn from Matt Bushman and see action as the second tight end.

One Achilles injury later and Rex was thrust into the primary role.

Rex had one reception last season during his redshirt campaign. Fast forward nine games and he’s quickly becoming a household name.

You know the story, his father played at BYU during the 90’s. For years, bragging rights in the family belonged with Bryon Rex.

Not anymore. Isaac Rex needed one touchdown catch prior to this game to tie his dad with seven career touchdown catches.

He hauled down two and passed his dad in less than one season of work.

Rex leads all FBS freshman in touchdown catches. He’s tied with Florida tight end Kyle Pitts to lead all tight ends. Pitts is likely to be a first round draft pick.

Every third reception for Rex is a touchdown. He’s a scoring machine. The future is bright for Cougar tight ends.

It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t drop a line about the blackout uniforms blackout uniforms BYU revealed in the locker room after the game.

I love that Matt Bushman was the guy to do it. It’s been a tough year for Bushman.

Imagine the numbers he would have put up in this offense.

The reaction from the players was awesome. It’s easy to tell that these guys love the uniform options and I’m all for it.

The more the merrier in my mind. The players love it, and the fans should too.

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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