BYU marches on undefeated, WKU off to FAU on next road game.

Lopini Katoa (#4) in second quarter against WKU’s defensive backs. BYU played WKU at Lavell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah on October 31, 2020.

Matthew Hargrove

WKU (2-5), (1-2, C-USA) fell to No. 11 Brigham Young University (7-0) by a score of 41-10. There were 6,843 fans who attended the first time affair between the programs. The respective school’s mascots first met back on April 17 via the SiriusXM Mascot Bracket Challenge in the finals.

Graduate quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome led the way for the Hilltoppers tossing 19 completions for 106 yards.

Junior quarterback Zach Wilson led the way for the Cougars throwing for 18 completions and 224 yards 

“He’s deadly accurate with the football. The offensive line gave him enough time to pass the ball. He’s definitely one of the best in the nation that’s for sure,” head coach Tyson Helton said postgame. 

Wilson came out slinging early, finding BYU junior receiver Dax Milne for 19-yards and junior wideout Gunner Romney on a 38-yard pass to get the Cougars inside the five-yard line.

Wilson’s arm allowed sophomore running back Tyler Allgeier to carry the pigskin into the endzone on a two-yard run to give BYU a fast 7-0 lead.

The Hilltoppers didn’t back down though, as a 14 play, 49-yard drive set up freshman kicker Brayden Narveson for a 44-yard field goal that cut the deficit 7-3.

BYU responded immediately, with Wilson finding his go-to man in Milne on a 22-yard touchdown pass with 22 seconds left in the first quarter. The Cougars then led WKU 14-3.

Right before the end of the first 15 minutes, senior running back Gaej Walker fumbled at the Hilltoppers 39-yard line. The ball was recovered by senior linebacker Isaiah Kaufusi, giving BYU possession in enemy territory to begin the second quarter. 

Wilson took advantage of the WKU turnover and scored for the Cougars on a five-yard run to give BYU a 21-3 lead.

Penalties cost the Hilltopper defense on BYU’s next offensive drive. The Cougars received 30-yards from a targeting penalty on redshirt senior linebacker Devon Key, and a pass interference call on redshirt sophomore defensive back Beanie Bishop. Key was later ejected for his hit on Milne.

After the back-to-back flags on WKU, Wilson found junior running back Lopini Katoa on a 42-yard pass that was taken to the house to increase the Cougars lead to 28-3.

The WKU defense hurt themselves again late in the second quarter, as redshirt junior defensive back Dominique Bradshaw was flagged for unnecessary roughness on a BYU third and seven.

Redshirt freshman defensive tackle Ricky Barber allowed the Cougars to get inside the five-yard line after Barber was penalized for grabbing the face mask of Allgeier.

The flags for a second time in a row let the Cougars get into the endzone, thanks to a four-yard pass to Issac Rex from Wilson. BYU led at the half 35-3.

Wilson and company finished the first-half scoring on every offensive possession that the Cougars had while giving up 71-yards from their seven penalties.

“We were down a pretty good bit at halftime obviously, so there wasn’t a lot to say other than, ‘Hey let’s go put a good second half together and let’s play for each other,’” Helton said.

The Hilltoppers began the second half with a strong drive going 20 plays down the field having Pigrome guide the way. 

After making it to the Cougars one-yard line though, the BYU defense held the Hilltoppers on all four downs to give the ball back into the hands of Wilson.

Senior linebacker Dionte Ruffin responded by picking the ball off, his first collegiate interception, to place the Hilltoppers back in scoring position. 

The interception was quickly followed by WKU’s first score of the night with Pigrome finding sophomore tight end Joshua Simon on a three-yard shovel pass. The Hilltoppers moved the score to 35-10 with 3:09 remaining in the third quarter.

WKU lost another player through ejection when freshman defensive back Kendrick Simpkins was called for targeting on junior wideout Neil Pau’u. 

BYU capitalized off the error, with sophomore kicker Jake Oldroyd booting a 49-yard field goal. The Cougars led the Hilltoppers 38-10 heading into the final frame.

The Hilltoppers made it into Cougar territory to begin the fourth quarter, but could not convert on fourth and five at the 31-yard line to give the ball back to BYU.

Both teams gave their starting quarterbacks the rest of the night off midway through the fourth. The Cougars replaced Wilson with sophomore Baylor Romney, and WKU replaced Pigrome with freshman Darius Ocean.  

While Ocean couldn’t get any points for his side, Romney led a last-minute 11 play, 42-yard drive that ended in a Oldroyd 45-yard field goal. The kick was the last point of regulation, nailing the score at 41-10.

Walker put up another respectable game, accumulating 75 rushing yards on 17 carries.

For BYU, Allgeier ran an impressive 95-yards to add to his touchdown run. Milne accumulated 67 receiving yards on five receptions to go with his touchdown catch.

Next up the Hilltoppers will travel to Florida Atlantic (2-1) on Nov. 7 with kickoff at 5 p.m. Last time out the Owls defeated Texas-San Antonio 24-3 Saturday.

Football beat reporter Matthew Hargrove can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewHargrov1