Provo • North Alabama never stood a chance.
The FCS Lions came to Provo to play their first ranked FBS opponent in program history on Saturday, and it didn’t go well for them. No. 8 BYU put the game far out of reach early as the Cougars routed North Alabama 66-14.
BYU’s 66 points is a season high and the most scored since scoring 70 vs. Wagner in 2015. It is also the most points North Alabama has given up in its 72-year history.
That’s not to say the Lions didn’t put up a fight. North Alabama still managed 354 total yards — 305 of them in the air — and moved the chains (21 first downs). The Lions also had some good chunk plays, but it just wasn’t enough to keep up with the efficient BYU offense.
The Cougars averaged 9.4 yards per play, compared to North Alabama’s 5.2 yards per play, and put up 555 total yards.
Starting quarterback Zach Wilson retired after the first half, having thrown for 212 yards and four touchdowns on 10 of 16 passing. The junior hit a career-best 256.3 quarterback rating and made a career-best 30-yard rush.
Backup quarterback Baylor Romney took over in the second half and threw for 65 yards and one touchdown on 8 of 10 passing. Sol-Jay Maivas-Peters came in late in the game for BYU, but only took one snap for the Cougars.
The Lions did some changes to their quarterback position, but out of necessity. After starter Blake Dever struggled early on, Rett Files came in. The pair switched off a couple more times throughout the game, trying to get some production on the field.
Saturday’s game served as North Alabama’s season finale, as the Lions opted for a shortened four-game season due to the ongoing pandemic. BYU currently has one game left on the schedule and will host San Diego State Dec. 12.
This story will be updated.