After a bumpy start, BYU earned a confidence-building 38-24 win against Wyoming on Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo.
Here are three takeaways from the game:
BYU needs to get off to quicker starts
The Cougars had the lead at the end of the first quarter, but that doesn’t mean they were playing their best football.
BYU had to punt on its first two drives after failing to get even a single first down, and the defense struggled to stop Wyoming’s run game.
The slow start on Saturday was reminiscent of the Cougars’ play last week against Oregon, when BYU gave up 10 unanswered points in the first quarter on its way to a 41-20 loss.
The Cougars will need to get off to quicker starts against better opponents, like No. 10 Arkansas on Oct. 15.
With stars out or limited, BYU’s offense is learning to mix it up
After the slow start, BYU’s offense found its footing, and quarterback Jaren Hall got multiple guys involved in each scoring drive.
Wide receiver Keanu Hill had two touchdowns and a few other memorable catches, including a 47-yard grab in the first quarter that jumpstarted BYU’s offense.
Brayden Cosper was another receiver who made a difference for the Cougars. He scored his first career touchdown right before halftime and just missed what could have been another in the fourth quarter.
Freshman running back Miles Davis dominated the Cougars’ run game. He had runs of 25 and 17 yards during one of the Cougars’ scoring drives in the third quarter, and then he had a 70-yard run in the final minutes of the game, setting up his team for a field goal.
Davis finished the night with 131 rushing yards.
Although wide receiver Puka Nacua was back after missing two games with a bad ankle, his impact was limited and then he went down in the fourth quarter with an injury. Nacua ended the night with 26 yards on three receptions.
Wide receiver Gunner Romney remained out, although he did take part in pregame warmups on Saturday, according to Jay Drew of the Deseret News.
If Romney and Nacua miss more time with injuries, BYU will need players like Hill, Cosper and Davis to continue to shine.
Cougar defenders have got to clean up their play
BYU’s defense is also dealing with injuries, which may explain why it struggled to slow down the Cowboys during the early action.
But there’s no excuse for the defense’s penalty problems, which marred an otherwise passable second-half performance.
During Wyoming’s final scoring drive of the game, for example, the Cougars were called for pass interference and a personal foul, which gave the Cowboys extra chances to make it into the end zone.
Altogether, BYU had 11 penalties for 109 yards. Wyoming had just two penalties for 20 yards.