Hot topics close

Live coverage: The latest as No. 9 BYU football plays at No. 21 Boise State

The Cougars ran away from the Broncos in the second half for a signature victory.

BYU went to Boise on Friday night looking for a signature win.

The No. 9 Cougars got that and more, dominating the No. 21 Broncos 51-17 at Albertsons Stadium for BYU’s first victory on the blue turf in six tries.

More importantly, though, the Cougars improved to 8-0 on the season and delivered an eye-popping performance as BYU looks to break into a high-profile bowl.

Zach Wilson, after a slow start, had another efficient night, while the BYU defense kept a Boise State offense dealing with injuries bottled up all night.

3 takeaways Offense hums in second half

While BYU was in control going into the half, the Cougars gave up three sacks in the first two quarters and squandered two scoring opportunities, not scoring on Boise State turnovers on its side of the field.

That was quickly forgotten in the third quarter, though, as BYU scored touchdowns on its three possessions in the quarter while putting up 230 yards of total offense in the period.

Wilson finished the game completing 21 of 27 passes for 359 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 8 yards and another score, his eighth rushing touchdown of the season.

On those third-quarter scoring drives, the Cougars went 86, 72 and 72 yards, then BYU scored a touchdown to start the fourth quarter in building a 45-3 lead.

BYU routinely burned the Broncos with long plays, including an 86-yard touchdown run from Tyler Allgeier — who had 123 rushing yards and two scores — on the Cougars’ opening drive.

Defense keeps Broncos under wraps

For most of the night, the BYU defense kept Boise State’s offense in check as the Broncos spent nearly the entire game with third-string quarterback Cade Fennegan on the field.

Fennegan, a true freshman, replaced Jack Sears — who started the year as the backup to Hank Bachmeier — on the Broncos’ second drive after Sears left after taking a hit on a quarterback sneak.

Through the first three quarters, BYU gave up just three points and 186 yards, as the Cougars forced two turnovers and held the Broncos to 61 rushing yards.

Both of Boise State’s touchdowns came midway through the fourth quarter on back-to-back long passes from Fennegan to Khalil Shakir, but otherwise, the BYU defense was as dominant as the Cougar offense.

The Broncos were 7 of 18 on third down and BYU had three sacks and four tackles for loss on the night.

Grid View

  • BYU place kicker Jake Oldroyd (39) kicks a 47-yard field goal as BYU and Boise State play a college football game at Albertsons Stadium in Boise on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. BYU place kicker Jake Oldroyd (39) kicks a 47-yard field goal 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
  • BYU wide receiver Dax Milne (5) is interfered with by Boise State cornerback Markel Reed (8) in the end zone as BYU and Boise State play a college football game at Albertsons Stadium in Boise on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. BYU wide receiver Dax Milne (5) is interfered with by Boise State cornerback Markel Reed (8) in the end zone 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
  • BYU running back Tyler Allgeier (25) looks back to see if he is in the clear as he runs for an 86-yard touchdown as BYU and Boise State play a college football game at Albertsons Stadium in Boise on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. BYU running back Tyler Allgeier (25) looks back to see if he is in the clear as he runs for an 86-yard touchdown 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
  • BYU defensive back Troy Warner (4) defends Boise State wide receiver CT Thomas (6) down field as BYU and Boise State play a college football game at Albertsons Stadium in Boise on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. BYU defensive back Troy Warner (4) defends Boise State wide receiver CT Thomas (6) down field 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
  • BYU quarterback Zach Wilson (1) has his foot stepped on and goes down on a fourth down play as BYU and Boise State play a college football game at Albertsons Stadium in Boise on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. BYU quarterback Zach Wilson (1) has his foot stepped on and goes down on a fourth down play 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
  • 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. 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
  • 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. 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
  • BYU defensive lineman Gabe Summers (98) celebrates a quarterback sack as BYU and Boise State play a college football game at Albertsons Stadium in Boise on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. BYU defensive lineman Gabe Summers (98) celebrates a quarterback sack 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
  • BYU defensive back Morgan Pyper (10), BYU defensive back Hayden Livingston (28) and BYU long snapper Austin Riggs (84) carry the flags out as BYU and Boise State play a college football game at Albertsons Stadium in Boise on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. BYU defensive back Morgan Pyper (10), BYU defensive back Hayden Livingston (28) and BYU long snapper Austin Riggs (84) carry the flags out 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
  • A worker stands at the bottom of the lower bowl in front of fan cutouts as BYU and Boise State prepare to play a college football game at Albertsons Stadium in Boise on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. A worker stands at the bottom of the lower bowl in front of fan cutouts as BYU and Boise State prepare to play a college football game at Albertsons Stadium in Boise on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
  • BYU Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) fist-bumps with an official prior to BYU and Boise State playing a college football game at Albertsons Stadium in Boise on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. BYU Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) fist-bumps with an official prior to BYU and Boise State playing a college football game at Albertsons Stadium in Boise on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
  • A few fans take their seats in the upper bowl as BYU and Boise State prepare to play a college football game at Albertsons Stadium in Boise on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. A few fans take their seats in the upper bowl as BYU and Boise State prepare to play a college football game at Albertsons Stadium in Boise on Friday, Nov. 6, 2020. Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
BYU’s receiving options shine

Neil Pau’u had himself a breakout game, as the Broncos held the Cougars’ leading receivers — Dax Milne and Gunner Romney — in check during the first half. While Milne and Romney got going in the second half, Pau’u consistently delivered big catches throughout the game — finishing with five catches for 75 yards and added a 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter.

Of course, Milne and Romney got going in the second half and had their usual strong lines. Romney led the Cougars with six catches for 133 yards, while Milne added three catches for 99 yards.

For that matter, tight end Isaac Rex also had an excellent game. The emerging playmaker caught five passes for 45 yards, including two third-quarter touchdowns.

Live coverage End of fourth quarter BYU 51, Boise State 17

The Cougars finish off an impressive showing with 573 yards of total offense, while holding Boise State to 310 in a lopsided game on the Smurf Turf.

7:59, fourth quarter BYU 51, Boise State 17

The Cougars recover the onside kick this time, and BYU turns the short field into points after Zach Wilson connects with Gunner Romney on a 42-yard pass. Tyler Allgeier scores his second touchdown of the night on a 2-yard run.

9:07, fourth quarter BYU 45, Boise State 17

The Broncos score their second touchdown in 10 seconds after recovering an onside kick, as Cade Fennegan hits Khalil Shakir for a 46-yard touchdown, their second straight scoring connection. After nine possessions without a touchdown, Boise State has shown some offensive life the past two drives.

9:17, fourth quarter BYU 45, Boise State 10

The Broncos finally find the end zone, as Cade Fennegan hits Khalil Shakir for a 52-yard touchdown as Boise State goes on a six-play, 80-yard drive.

11:27, fourth quarter BYU 45, Boise State 3

BYU capitalizes on a short field after Khyiris Tonga blocks a punt, and a 1-yard score by Neil Pau’u gives the Cougars a 42-point lead.

End of third quarter BYU 38, Boise State 3

A few notes from a dominant third quarter:

  • BYU put up 230 yards of offense on its three touchdown drives in the third, and 179 of that came through the air
  • The Cougars averaged 12.8 yards per play in the quarter, while Boise State averaged 3 and had 45 yards of total offense
  • Zach Wilson completed 8 of 10 passes in the third as the Cougars scored 22 points
1:26, third quarter BYU 38, Boise State 3

While the Broncos are on their fourth-string quarterback, the Cougars are simply humming on offense. This time, Zach Wilson leads a 72-yard drive that ends with a 20-yard touchdown run by Lopini Katoa. Wilson has completed 19 of 25 passes for 302 yards.

6:57, third quarter BYU 31, Boise State 3

The Cougars are really opening this one up, as Zach Wilson delivers a 20-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Rex, his second score of the quarter, to make it a four-score game. The Cougars drive 72 yards in six plays, and Wilson completes 3 of 4 passes for 64 yards while tossing a 39-yarder to Dax Milne and a 5-yarder to Rex on a fourth-and-2 right before the score.

12:48, third quarter BYU 23, Boise State 3

Zach Wilson shows off his arm strength on a scoring drive to start the second half, hitting Dax Milne for a 38-yard pass on third down, then throwing 38 yards to Gunner Romney on the next play.

He capped the five-play, 86-yard drive with a 5-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Rex, and the Cougars are in charge. Wilson, despite some struggles, is now 15 of 19 passing for 210 yards and a touchdown.

End of second quarter BYU 16, Boise State 3

A few notes from the first half:

  • BYU failed to score on two Boise State turnovers, particularly damaging considering the Cougars started with the ball inside the Broncos 40 on both turnovers. On the final play of the half, Zach Wilson threw a 22-yard pass to Dax Milne, but with no timeouts and facing a fourth down, the Cougars wasted too much time and ran out the clock when a field goal was possible
  • Neil Pau’u and Tyler Allgeier had nice first halves for the Cougars. With Boise State bottling up Dax Milne, Pau’u caught four passes for 47 yards, while Allgeier had 94 rushing yards — including the opening 86-yard TD run — on six carries
  • Outside of Allgeier’s 86-yard run, the offenses have been relatively even. BYU has 245 yards of total offense, while Boise State has 141
  • Bracken El-Bakri has seven tackles at the half, while Khyiris Tonga has three tackles and a forced fumble
  • BYU is 1 of 5 on third down, while Boise State is 3 of 9
  • The Broncos have a 19:46 to 10:14 edge in time of possession, keeping the Cougar offense from getting much momentum going
1:00, second quarter BYU 16, Boise State 3

BYU goes on an impressive 96-yard touchdown drive right before the half, and Zach Wilson scores his eighth touchdown run of the year on a 4-yarder. The Cougars needed just 1:26 and eight plays to score on the drive.

4:30, second quarter BYU 10, Boise State 3

The Cougars squander a chance to add to their lead after true freshman Caleb Christensen intercepted Cade Fennegan, setting BYU up at the Boise State 39. BYU struggled to move the ball, though, and Zach Wilson tripped and lost 8 yards on a fourth-and-4 play to give the ball back to the Broncos. At this point, Jack Sears hasn’t returned and it appears Fennegan will be who the Broncos have to go with at quarterback.

14:54, second quarter BYU 10, Boise State 3

The Cougars cap their second drive with a 47-yard Jake Oldroyd field goal. BYU drives 52 yards on 11 plays to make it a touchdown game again.

End of first quarter BYU 7, Boise State 3

A few notes from the opening quarter:

  • BYU has outgained the Broncos 147 yards to 79, and has a fourth down in field-goal territory to start the second quarter
  • Boise State has the more accurate passing game — Jack Sears and Cade Fennegan have combined to go 7 of 9 for 63 yards, while Zach Wilson is 4 of 7 for 46 yards
  • Boise State is 2 of 5 on third down, BYU is 1 of 2
  • The Cougars are averaging 12.2 yards per play, Boise State is averaging 4.2
3:27, first quarter BYU 7, Boise State 3

The Broncos respond to BYU’s touchdown, though Boise State quarterback Jack Sears left with an injury. In came third-stringer Cade Fennegan, who led the team down for a 39-yard Jonah Dalmas field goal to get the Broncos on the board on a 16-play, 53-yard drive.

11:41, first quarter BYU 7, Boise State 0

BYU typically has fallen behind early on the blue turf against Boise State. Not this time, though, as Tyler Allgeier runs for a career-long 86-yard run and a touchdown on the Cougars’ second play from scrimmage to cap a 95-yard drive.

Allgeier's 86-yard run is the longest run by a BYU player since Mike Hague ran for an 87-yarder vs. UNLV in 2006 (52-7 win) #BYUFootball

— BYU Game Notes (@BYUGameNotes) November 7, 2020

On their first drive, the Broncos got into BYU territory with a pass on their first play following the opening kick, but the Cougar defense responded and quickly shut down the possession.

Pre-game

Here are a few links to stories you may want to read prior to or during the game:

Deseret News BYU football beat writer Jay Drew provides a few personnel updates:

Per Greg Wrubell of BYU Sports Network, BYU starting free safety Zayne Anderson probably won't play. However, LBs Keenan Pili and Kavika Fonua are expected to play.

— Jay Drew (@drewjay) November 7, 2020

Boise State will be without two stars tonight as well, quarterback Hank Bachmeier and running back George Holani. Former BYU recruiting coordinator Tevita Ofahengaue told me earlier this week that BYU coaches wanted to recruit Holani, but he was pretty set on Boise State.

— Jay Drew (@drewjay) November 7, 2020

BYU QBs warming up: Zach Wilson, Baylor Romney, Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters and Jacob Conover.

— Jay Drew (@drewjay) November 7, 2020

A look at the signature blue turf at Boise State before tonight’s game:

Both teams arrive at Albertsons Stadium:

Similar shots