PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Zach Wilson’s torrid start continued for BYU.
Wilson completed 24 of 26 passes for 325 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 43 yards and three touchdowns, as #22 BYU trounced Louisiana Tech Friday night, 45-14.
The Cougars (3-0) rolled up 513 total yards and averaged 8.0 yards per play on their way to their best start since 2014.
“It’s satisfying,” Wilson said. “I feel like we were on the same page all night. We were having a strong connection and the guys were just making plays. I was putting the ball up there for the guys to make plays and they were getting it done.”
Tyler Allgeier added 93 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, and Gunner Romney led the receivers with 101 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions in his third straight 100-yard game.
Luke Anthony threw for 191 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception to lead the Bulldogs. Louisiana Tech (2-1) had only 313 total yards.
Wilson has completed 84.5% of his passes through his first three games. The junior’s efficient passing, combined with stingy defense, helped BYU take control before halftime. Wilson opened the game by completing his first 12 passes — highlighted by a 22-yard touchdown grab between two defenders by freshman tight end Carter Wheat.
“We’ve been really excited to get Zach going,” head coach Kalani Sitake said. “We just know when you’ve got a guy with a great work ethic that is willing to sacrifice a lot for his teammates, it becomes a natural thing for everybody to want to follow him. Eventually, with his work ethic and dedication to this game, it’s going to pay off. I’m glad that our coaches worked a great scheme. I love what Coach Grimes and his staff are doing with that side ofthe ball. We saw a lot of guys grow up in the game and make some big-time plays.”
On the other side, the Cougars forced four first-half punts and a turnover. Troy Warner snagged his first career interception and Tyler Batty came up with two of his career-high three sacks to stop Louisiana Tech’s final drive of the half.
“I think what we are doing as a defense speaks for itself,” Warner said. “We pride ourselves by being a stingy defense and this is engrained into BYU football. It’s a defense full of guys with short term memory. If something bad happens it is onto the next play and we are striving to be great and I feel like we did a pretty good job of dealing with adversity today.”
BYU struck first on its opening drive when Wilson threw a 39-yard dart to Dax Milne to set up his own 9-yard scoring run on the next play. Smoke Harris eluded several tacklers and took a screen pass 66 yards to tie it at 7.
The Cougars pulled away in the second quarter, scoring on three consecutive drives. Wheat’s touchdown catch in double coverage and a 1-yard dive from Tyler Allgeier accounted for the first two. Then Wilson completed four straight passes, culminating in a 22-yard strike to Gunner Romney, to march the Cougars 80 yards in 37 seconds and make it 28-7 going into halftime.
Wilson’s final touchdown, a 14-yard keeper, put BYU ahead 45-7 early in the fourth quarter.
Wilson completed 18 of 19 passes in the first half for 236 yards. He had more than 200 passing yards in the first half for a second straight week.
“We take it one game at a time,” Wilson said. “We can’t take anything for granted. We can’t think we are anything yet. We are only three games in and we’ve done a great job up to this pointbut it really means nothing yet.No one’s going to get complacent and look into the future and talk about what if’s.We are just going to try and get it done everyday in practice.”
“All we’re focused on right now is learning from this game,” Sitake said. “I’m going to give the coaches talk because it’s really important for our guys and this generation that we can’t look past anything that is coming up next. We like to be consistent with the things we’re doing well and improve on some of the things we’ve made mistakes on. I’m really happy with the performance of our team in all three phases, but we’re going to keep these guys humble and hungry. We still have a lot to prove and there is still a lot more football to be played. We’re not looking past anything, especially this year.”
BYU next hosts UT-San Antonio Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at LaVell Edwards Stadium.