The Cougars put up a season-best nine touchdowns and added a 53 yard field goal to stomp all over visiting North Alabama 66-14 on Saturday, but BYU’s best offensive efficiency came in the first half.
BYU opened the game with six consecutive scoring drives.
“Yeah, you got to give a lot of credit to our offensive coaches,” BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. “I think, first of all, we’re playing good team football, complementary football. With the mindset of our team, our coaches and our philosophy as a program, we’re utilizing the skill and the strengths that we have and trying to make plays, trying to put as many points on the board as we can.”
The Cougars put up 555 yards on 59 offensive plays. BYU split the yardage almost perfectly in half, making up 278 yards on the ground and 277 in the air.
Sophomore running back Tyler Allgeier led the run game, putting up 141 yards and scoring twice on 13 attempts. Junior Dax Milne caught for 101 yards on only four receptions, and junior Gunner Romney followed up with 60 yards on two receptions.
“It’s always a great feeling,” Allgeier said of his performance, “but all that credit goes to the big guys, man, and the receivers, so all my success goes to the O-line. That was just an offensive game right there.”
• It’s said that the team that wins the turnover game wins the game. And BYU forced turnovers from North Alabama every which way.
The Cougars forced three fumbles — recovering two of them — and caught an interception. The defense also had three sacks and four pass breakups.
Sitake believes the defense let North Alabama get too many first downs and could improve on other aspects, but was happy with the defensive performance overall.
“Obviously, we had some big plays and were able to get two scores, and we’re always gonna look at it and try to improve, but I was really pleased with some of the things I saw from our players, specifically the young guys,” Sitake said. “We’ll keep building on that. There’s always room for improvement, and we know there’s some on the defensive side, but overall, if we can hold teams to 14 points, we should be pretty good.”
• Speaking of young guys, the coaching staff was able to rotate plenty of younger guys and explore their depth, particularly in the second half when the bulk of the starters sat out the remainder of the game.
Some standouts include freshman running back Miles Davis, who scored two touchdowns and ran for 54 yards on four carries, and junior defensive back Malik Moore, who had a team-high five tackles, an interception and pass breakup.
• Of BYU’s 66 points, 56 came from the red zone, where the Cougars went 8 of 8 in attempts. The Lions, on the other hand, only got to the red zone once.
Players of the game
The junior only needed one half to put up big numbers and dazzle fans with big plays. Wilson made seven large plays through the air — three 20-plus yard throws and two 50-plus yard throws. The longest came on a 58 yard reception by Milne in the second quarter.
Wilson threw for 212 yards and four touchdowns. BYU has thrown for 200-plus yards in 24 consecutive games. It is the longest streak since 26 in a row over the 2007-09 seasons.
“Zach’s staring to feel really comfortable out there, but he’s made those those throws,” Wilson said. “He’s been doing that since he got here. He’s got a high level of IQ in football. Especially at the quarterback position, he’s starting to get really comfortable with his role, and you see a lot of those guys get comfortable with the experience that they’ve had the last couple years.”
Kaufusi recorded four tackles, one sack for a loss of 6 yards and returned a fumble recovery for 50 yards that helped set up a Cougar touchdown.
Play of the game
During BYU’s first play of the second drive, Wilson found himself in trouble in the pocket, narrowly avoided a safety and ran up the field 33 yards — a new career-best run.
For now, BYU is scheduled to take a two-week break before hosting San Diego State on Dec. 12. The Cougars, however, aren’t giving up on the chance that athletic director Tom Holmoe could find another game to add to the schedule before then.
“Everybody on the team wants to keep playing ball and keep doing our thing, and so we welcome any opportunity that we get to play football,” offensive lineman James Empey said.