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BYU football: If this was his college exit, Zach Wilson put on a show

BYU quarterback helped lead Cougars to the biggest offensive explosion in school history with 655 yards in win over Central Florida

Welcome to the Boca Ra … er, um, Zach Wilson Bowl.

In what many believe was BYU quarterback Wilson’s swan song as he is expected to head for the NFL as a projected first-round draft pick, the junior put on a prime-time show Tuesday night.

Wilson completely swamped a confused University of Central Florida defense before an ESPN audience, which saw No. 13 BYU race to a 39-point lead, then coast to a 49-23 victory. BYU elected to take a knee for the final plays of the game near UCF’s goal line, yielding a chance for a school bowl scoring record (52).

Playing a team that lost to undefeated No. 6 Cincinnati by 3 (36-33) in AAC play, Wilson ran for two touchdowns and threw for three others. On the night, BYU averaged 9 yards a play.

Wilson finished 26 of 34 for 425 yards, 76.4% accuracy with a 210 efficiency rating. He threw for 333 yards and accounted for five TDs before halftime. The Cougars had 220 yards passing in the first quarter (a BYU record) and busted the 1989 Ty Detmer-led school record (then an NCAA record) for bowl yardage against Penn State (651) with 655 versus the Knights.

BYU finishes the season at 6,267 total yards of offense, first in the country. 6,268 would have them undefeated.

— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) December 23, 2020

Wilson showed off his arm strength, pinpoint accuracy, laserlike focus, ability to process and filter through progressions. He simply caught UCF blinking and put on an off-Broadway show.

This was supposed to be a real track meet, a shootout between two of the nation’s top passing quarterbacks and chunk-play offenses. It was supposed to be a nightmare for both defenses, one of those mercy killings of corners and safeties.

But the Cougar defense registered a string of three-and-outs against UCF’s Dillon Gabriel. Gabriel’s offense had averaged 44 points a game. It was enough to give Wilson dominoes possessions, to hold a scalpel, and go to work on the nation’s 117th-ranked pass defense.

It was over right after kickoff.

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It was a track meet alright, with one side sprinting past the other. Both teams were shorthanded with players opting out, injured or disqualified.

Wilson cut up UCF’s man defense early, then went to work on the Knights’ zone. He hit Dax Milne on crossing routes, found Tyler Allgeier on wheel routes. He then sent out Godzilla freshman Isaac Rex, who tied Jonny Harline for the most TD catches with his 12th of the season.

He had Lopini Katoa lay out for a flying, diving, gravity-defying 30-yard catch to set up a late third-quarter TD pass to Neil Pau’u. That was a career highlight play for Katoa. Pau’u’s TD put the Cougars up 35-7 with just over three minutes left before halftime.

Wilson’s placement of that 35-yard sideline bomb to a covered Pau’u displayed the type of throw that is comfort food for NFL scouts who rank him the second or third QB taken come draft day. His pass hit Pau’u right in the sternum in full stride inside the 6-yard line, in a position where Pau’u could use his momentum to easily score.

Grid View

  • Brigham Young Cougars tight end Isaac Rex (83) celebrates his touchdown with Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Gunner Romney (18) against the UCF Knights during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars tight end Isaac Rex (83) celebrates his touchdown with Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Gunner Romney (18) against the UCF Knights during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (25) runs during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (25) runs during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars running back Lopini Katoa (4) makes a diving catch against the UCF Knights during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars running back Lopini Katoa (4) makes a diving catch against the UCF Knights during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars defensive lineman Zac Dawe (99) pressures UCF Knights quarterback Dillon Gabriel (11) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars defensive lineman Zac Dawe (99) pressures UCF Knights quarterback Dillon Gabriel (11) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) dives for additional yards after catching a pass against the UCF Knights during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) dives for additional yards after catching a pass against the UCF Knights during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars defensive back D’Angelo Mandell (16) and Brigham Young Cougars defensive back Troy Warner (4) applaud after UCF Knights wide receiver Jaylon Robinson (1) dropped the ball on a sure touchdown during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars defensive back D’Angelo Mandell (16) and Brigham Young Cougars defensive back Troy Warner (4) applaud after UCF Knights wide receiver Jaylon Robinson (1) dropped the ball on a sure touchdown during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) throws against the UCF Knights during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) throws against the UCF Knights during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars tight end Isaac Rex (83) scores against the UCF Knights during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars tight end Isaac Rex (83) scores against the UCF Knights during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) scores on UCF Knights defensive back Jon Powell (34) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) scores on UCF Knights defensive back Jon Powell (34) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) scores on UCF Knights defensive back Jon Powell (34) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) scores on UCF Knights defensive back Jon Powell (34) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Neil Pau’u (2) celebrates his touchdown against the UCF Knights with Brigham Young Cougars offensive lineman Connor Pay (70) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Neil Pau’u (2) celebrates his touchdown against the UCF Knights with Brigham Young Cougars offensive lineman Connor Pay (70) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Neil Pau’u (2) celebrates his touchdown against the UCF Knights with Brigham Young Cougars tight end Isaac Rex (83) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Neil Pau’u (2) celebrates his touchdown against the UCF Knights with Brigham Young Cougars tight end Isaac Rex (83) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Neil Pau’u (2) celebrates his touchdown against the UCF Knights with Brigham Young Cougars tight end Isaac Rex (83) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Neil Pau’u (2) celebrates his touchdown against the UCF Knights with Brigham Young Cougars tight end Isaac Rex (83) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Dax Milne (5) can’t make the catch under defense firm UCF Knights defensive back Jermaine McMillian (26) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Dax Milne (5) can’t make the catch under defense firm UCF Knights defensive back Jermaine McMillian (26) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Dax Milne (5) runs for a gain during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Dax Milne (5) runs for a gain during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Gunner Romney (18) makes a catch against UCF Knights defensive back Davonte Brown (7) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Gunner Romney (18) makes a catch against UCF Knights defensive back Davonte Brown (7) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Ella and Carter Griffith cheer for the Cougars during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Ella and Carter Griffith cheer for the Cougars during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) is helped up after scoring against the UCF Knights during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) is helped up after scoring against the UCF Knights during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) walks off the field slowly after scoring against the UCF Knights during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) walks off the field slowly after scoring against the UCF Knights during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars linebaker Pepe Tanuvasa hurries UCF Knights quarterback Dillon Gabriel (11) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars linebaker Pepe Tanuvasa hurries UCF Knights quarterback Dillon Gabriel (11) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars head coach Kalani Sitake applauds an extra point during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars head coach Kalani Sitake applauds an extra point during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (25) runs for a large gain against the UCF Knights during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (25) runs for a large gain against the UCF Knights during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars tight end Isaac Rex (83) catches touchdown against the UCF Knights during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars tight end Isaac Rex (83) catches touchdown against the UCF Knights during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars players warms up under the sunset prior to the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, FL on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars players warms up under the sunset prior to the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, FL on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Sarah, Michael, Melissa and Madison Croxall hold signs prior to the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Florida, on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Sarah, Michael, Melissa and Madison Croxall hold signs prior to the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Florida, on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • The stadium at Florida Atlantic University, used for the Boca Raton Bowl, is pictured in Boca Raton, Florida, on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. The stadium at Florida Atlantic University, used for the Boca Raton Bowl, is pictured in Boca Raton, Florida, on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • BYU Cougars head coach Kalani Sitake and UCF Knights head coach Josh Heupel watch warmups prior to the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU Cougars head coach Kalani Sitake and UCF Knights head coach Josh Heupel watch warmups prior to the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • BYU Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) warms up prior to the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) warms up prior to the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Helmets are displayed with the Boca Raton Bowl trophy in Boca Raton, Florida, on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Helmets are displayed with the Boca Raton Bowl trophy in Boca Raton, Florida, on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) signs an autograph for a young fan after the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU won 49-23. Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) signs an autograph for a young fan after the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU won 49-23. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • The Brigham Young Cougars players hoist the trophy after the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU won 49-23. The Brigham Young Cougars players hoist the trophy after the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU won 49-23. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • The Brigham Young Cougars high-five the fans after the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU won 49-23. The Brigham Young Cougars high-five the fans after the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU won 49-23. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) celebrates the win over the UCF Knights with athletic director Tom Holmoe after the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU won 49-23. Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) celebrates the win over the UCF Knights with athletic director Tom Holmoe after the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU won 49-23. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars head coach Kalani Sitake celebrates the win over the UCF Knights with athletic director Tom Holmoe the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU won 49-23. Brigham Young Cougars head coach Kalani Sitake celebrates the win over the UCF Knights with athletic director Tom Holmoe the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU won 49-23. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1), Brigham Young Cougars running back Lopini Katoa (4 )and Brigham Young Cougars offensive lineman Brady Christensen (67) hoist the trophy after the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU won 49-23. Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1), Brigham Young Cougars running back Lopini Katoa (4 )and Brigham Young Cougars offensive lineman Brady Christensen (67) hoist the trophy after the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU won 49-23. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars head coach Kalani Sitake and Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) celebrate the win over the UCF Knights with fans during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU won 49-23. Brigham Young Cougars head coach Kalani Sitake and Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) celebrate the win over the UCF Knights with fans during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU won 49-23. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson holds up the MVP trophy after the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU won 49-23. Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson holds up the MVP trophy after the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU won 49-23. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) shoots a selfie with fans after the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU won 49-23. Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) shoots a selfie with fans after the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU won 49-23. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Payton Wilgar (49) tackles UCF Knights running back Greg McCrae (30) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Payton Wilgar (49) tackles UCF Knights running back Greg McCrae (30) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Fans are distanced during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Fans are distanced during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars defensive back Caleb Christensen (15) tackles UCF Knights quarterback Dillon Gabriel (11) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars defensive back Caleb Christensen (15) tackles UCF Knights quarterback Dillon Gabriel (11) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) takes a snap during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) takes a snap during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (25) celebrates his touchdown with teammates during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (25) celebrates his touchdown with teammates during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Dax Milne (5) can’t come up with the catch during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Interference was called on the play. Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Dax Milne (5) can’t come up with the catch during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Interference was called on the play. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Gunner Romney (18) celebrates his touchdown with Brigham Young Cougars offensive lineman Harris LaChance (76) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Gunner Romney (18) celebrates his touchdown with Brigham Young Cougars offensive lineman Harris LaChance (76) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Max Tooley (31) levels UCF Knights punt returner Amari Johnson (17) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Max Tooley (31) levels UCF Knights punt returner Amari Johnson (17) during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Tyson Pinegar, Darek Andersen and Cooper Sargent cheer on BYU during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Tyson Pinegar, Darek Andersen and Cooper Sargent cheer on BYU during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars head coach Kalani Sitake celebrates the win over the UCF Knights during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU won 49-23. Brigham Young Cougars head coach Kalani Sitake celebrates the win over the UCF Knights during the Boca Raton Bowl in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020. BYU won 49-23. Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

This allowed ESPN coverage to quickly break out a quote graphic of draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay.

“He has a stellar arm and can climb the pocket to find the open receiver. He’s the complete package.” — Kiper

“I love his competitiveness and toughness in the pocket, and he has a high-end ability to extend plays. His deep-ball accuracy is also outstanding.” — McShay

The Cougars have spent school history enduring futile trips to the state of Florida, losing to Florida State, Oklahoma State (twice), Miami, Memphis, South Florida, and about anybody else they tried to line up against.

Wilson helped this 2020 BYU team erase that streak in fine fashion this night, capping a 12-game, 11-win season during a COVID-19 pandemic year that brutalized most every program in America with cancellations and shortened seasons.

Who knows what the future holds for Wilson.

But in this, his junior season, he became the closest incarnation on the field of Jim McMahon the Cougar program has seen. His confidence and mastery of the QB reins was reflective of the former star.

Yes, it was against a far inferior schedule than he planned on back in July, but he could only go against what was in front of him.

Thanks for the highlights, Mr. Wilson. And hats off to Kalani Sitake and his staff who underwent hard things all year long with literally thousands of team COVID-19 tests, unexpected twists, turns and detours, all without complaint — just gratitude to play when others got just one-third the games and when the schedule once stood at just two games.

The Cougars finished 11-1, the first one-loss BYU team since 1996 (14-1). Wilson broke season and career percent completion records (73.5%) held by Hall of Famer Steve Young and Steve Sarkisian.

That’s a season to remember in anyone’s book.

Zach Wilson is BYU's new single-season pass efficiency rating record holder: he ended at 196.44 this season (old record: Jim McMahon, 176.87 in 1980).

— Greg Wrubell (@gregwrubell) December 23, 2020
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