Hot topics close

BYU football: What’s next for Cougars, with CFP rankings out soon?

Four players scored two touchdowns each in No. 8 BYU’s 66-14 blowout win over Northern Alabama.

It was a Saturday bagatelle for No. 8 BYU.

It was booked that way and turned out to be just that, a toy game.

North Alabama was always going to be a big-time gimme for BYU, even before COVID-19 rewrote the schedule. True to form, the Cougars raced ahead 49-7 with reserves making appearances before halftime, then coasted to a convincing 66-14 win on Saturday in LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Now 9-0 with the first College Football Playoff rankings due out on Tuesday, that became the focus of the weekend for Kalani Sitake’s football team heading into a week without a game. But that could change.

Or not.

“Whatever, if there is one thing that’s been consistent, we want to play football and get as many games as possible. I have a lot of gratitude for teams that stuck with us like North Alabama and then for teams like Boise State to schedule us.” — BYU coach Kalani Sitake

Athletic director Tom Holmoe explained on Saturday via BYUtv that BYU’s place in the CFP standings may determine if and what team BYU may add to the schedule. Right now, the Cougars have one remaining game on Dec. 12 at home against San Diego State — the first-ever December home game in school history.

Holmoe said he will not schedule a game just to add a game — it has to be right and make sense and at this stage of the season he can afford to be more selective because he is not rebuilding a schedule like he was in September. He isn’t enamored with accepting a game on Monday and putting Sitake’s team on the road for the sake of adding to just add.

Grid View

  • Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) runs the ball as North Alabama Lions defensive back Kyree Fields (1) closes in on him during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) runs the ball as North Alabama Lions defensive back Kyree Fields (1) closes in on him during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Dax Milne (5) hauls in a long pass over North Alabama Lions cornerback Will Singleton (4) during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Dax Milne (5) hauls in a long pass over North Alabama Lions cornerback Will Singleton (4) during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars defensive back Micah Harper (1) flips North Alabama Lions running back Tyler Price (22) into the air during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars defensive back Micah Harper (1) flips North Alabama Lions running back Tyler Price (22) into the air during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (25) gets flipped into the air by a North Alabama defender as he dives for the end zone during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (25) gets flipped into the air by a North Alabama defender as he dives for the end zone during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars place kicker Jake Oldroyd (39) follows through as he nails a 53-yard field goal during a game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars place kicker Jake Oldroyd (39) follows through as he nails a 53-yard field goal during a game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Baylor Romney (16) looks for a receiver during a game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Baylor Romney (16) looks for a receiver during a game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars place kicker Jake Oldroyd (39) follows through as he nails a 53-yard field goal during a game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars place kicker Jake Oldroyd (39) follows through as he nails a 53-yard field goal during a game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • BYU head football coach Kalani Sitake, center, walks onto the field with his team after the Cougars defeated North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. BYU head football coach Kalani Sitake, center, walks onto the field with his team after the Cougars defeated North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • BYU head football coach Kalani Sitake, center, walks onto the field with his team after the Cougars defeated North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. BYU head football coach Kalani Sitake, center, walks onto the field with his team after the Cougars defeated North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) scrambles away from North Alabama Lions defensive end Wallace Cowins Jr. (10) during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) scrambles away from North Alabama Lions defensive end Wallace Cowins Jr. (10) during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Gunner Romney (18) leaps over North Alabama defensive back K.J. Smith (12) as Romney hauls in a long pass during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Gunner Romney (18) leaps over North Alabama defensive back K.J. Smith (12) as Romney hauls in a long pass during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson looks to throw down the field during a game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson looks to throw down the field during a game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson flips a pass over the North Alabama defense during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson flips a pass over the North Alabama defense during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) scrambles away from North Alabama Lions defensive end Wallace Cowins Jr. (10) during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) scrambles away from North Alabama Lions defensive end Wallace Cowins Jr. (10) during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (25) is congratulated by the BYU offensive line after scoring a touchdown during a game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (25) is congratulated by the BYU offensive line after scoring a touchdown during a game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson looks for a receiver during a game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson looks for a receiver during a game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • BYU quarterback Zach Wilson (1) looks downfield as North Alabama’s Tyler Antikowiak (41) defends during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. BYU quarterback Zach Wilson (1) looks downfield as North Alabama’s Tyler Antikowiak (41) defends during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (25) breaks free of the North Alabama defense during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (25) breaks free of the North Alabama defense during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Neil Pau’u (2) hauls in a touchdown over North Alabama Lions defensive back Gerrell Green (28) during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Neil Pau’u (2) hauls in a touchdown over North Alabama Lions defensive back Gerrell Green (28) during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Isaiah Kaufusi (53) scoops up a North Alabama fumble during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Isaiah Kaufusi (53) scoops up a North Alabama fumble during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Dax Milne (5) hauls in a long pass over North Alabama Lions cornerback Will Singleton (4) during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Dax Milne (5) hauls in a long pass over North Alabama Lions cornerback Will Singleton (4) during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • North Alabama Lions running back Tyler Price (22) is pinned to the ground by the BYU defense after fumbling the ball during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. North Alabama Lions running back Tyler Price (22) is pinned to the ground by the BYU defense after fumbling the ball during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (25) breaks free of the North Alabama defense during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (25) breaks free of the North Alabama defense during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • The BYU Cougars take the field at a nearly empty LaVell Edwards Stadium before their game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. The BYU Cougars take the field at a nearly empty LaVell Edwards Stadium before their game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • The BYU Cougars leave the field at a nearly empty LaVell Edwards Stadium before their game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. The BYU Cougars leave the field at a nearly empty LaVell Edwards Stadium before their game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • The BYU Cougars take the field at a nearly empty LaVell Edwards Stadium before their game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. The BYU Cougars take the field at a nearly empty LaVell Edwards Stadium before their game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • Family and friends of BYU players sit among cutout fans in a nearly empty LaVell Edwards Stadium before the Cougars game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Family and friends of BYU players sit among cutout fans in a nearly empty LaVell Edwards Stadium before the Cougars game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • The BYU Cougars take the field at a nearly empty LaVell Edwards Stadium before their game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. The BYU Cougars take the field at a nearly empty LaVell Edwards Stadium before their game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News
  • Family and friends of BYU players sit among cutout fans in a nearly empty LaVell Edwards Stadium before the Cougars game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Family and friends of BYU players sit among cutout fans in a nearly empty LaVell Edwards Stadium before the Cougars game against North Alabama in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Steve Griffin, Deseret News

“Whatever, if there is one thing that’s been consistent, we want to play football and get as many games as possible. I have a lot of gratitude for teams that stuck with us like North Alabama and then for teams like Boise State to schedule us,” Sitake postgame on BYUtv.

If it’s up to star QB Zach Wilson and the headband he displayed on Saturday, he’d like to play any team, any place, any time.

Wilson played just the first half. On his final appearance in the game, he drove the Cougar offense 75 yards in three plays in 57 seconds, using a side-arm flip pass to Kavika Fonua for a 22-yard touchdown to put BYU up 42-7.

That was it for the junior against North Alabama, doing nothing at all to hurt his national profile. He had a few bombs, touch-pass fades to tight end Isaac Rex and a nice display of his skills on a myriad of throws. He finished 10 of 16 for 212 yards, four touchdowns and a 256.3 pass efficiency rating. He averaged 21.2 yards per completion, 13.2 yards per pass attempt. He also rushed one time for 33 yards.

BYU scored on eight of its first nine possessions. That says it all.

[embedded content]

Well, and the fact four players scored two touchdowns (Miles Davis, Fonua, Tyler Allgeier, Rex).

On this day, it was style points all the way because Northern Alabama defenders simply had few answers for stopping the Cougars. Rex, the biggest mismatch on the field for North Alabama, had a pair of touchdown catches, propelling him to eight in his freshman year. He surpassed his father Byron Rex (seven) in career TDs, including four in the last two games.

Allgeier gained 141 on just 13 carries, and averaged 10.8 yards per tote before sitting down for Fonua (two touchdowns) as regular Lopini Katoa did not play. The freshman Davis scored a pair of rushing touchdowns.

BYU’s defense did force three turnovers (one interception, two fumble recoveries) but reserves did help North Alabama come up with 305 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns.

“We made some mistakes but we wanted to give a lot of young guys a chance to play,” said Sitake.

Should BYU add another game?

That will be the debate, and a heated one, as the Cougars head into a two-week layoff in which they could be out of many conversations as league play in Power Five competition heats up. Also, there have been teams that have not wanted a game with BYU — Army hasn’t rescheduled a game with the Cougars that was postponed in September.

A Pac-12 team could offer BYU a game after a league decision to open up non-league fill-in games for conference teams who have had cancellations.

But the Pac-12 requirements to make that happen are overloaded with Pac-12 interests, including adhering to the league’s testing protocols, the requirement to play on a Pac-12 home field, and an “out” to cancel by Thursday of the week if another Pac-12 team can fill in that date.

Who’d want to take on that commitment from a league that has short-changed its own athletes since this weird 2020 season began?

Similar shots