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Highlights, key plays and photos from BYU’s 45-14 victory over Louisiana Tech

BYU quarterback Zach Wilson (1) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown during the first quarter against Louisiana Tech at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Friday, Oct. 2, 2020.
BYU photo

PROVO — No. 22 BYU took some time to warm up Friday night, but once it did, the Cougars rolled to a 45-14 victory over Louisiana Tech at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Zach Wilson was again the shining star for the Cougars, leading a potent offensive attack by starring both in the passing and rushing games. That was complemented by a BYU defense that kept the Bulldogs offense in check for much of the night.

With the win, the Cougars improve to 3-0, while dropping Louisiana Tech to 2-1.

3 takeaways

Zach Wilson is simply brilliant

BYU’s junior signal caller had his best game of what’s already been an impressive season so far. He was nearly perfect in the passing game, completing 24 of 26 passes for 325 yards and two touchdowns, for a 222.7 QB rating.

Wilson was also a threat in the running game, rushing for 43 yards and three touchdowns on eight carries as he led the Cougars on six straight scoring drives spanning from the second to the fourth quarters.

For the night, BYU had 513 yards of total offense, most coming under Wilson’s leadership.

Big second quarter

The Cougars broke the game open in the second quarter, scoring three touchdowns in the period to grab control of the game.

Two of the scoring drives covered 58 yards for BYU, while the third was the most impressive, as Wilson guided a five-play, 80-yard drive in the final two minutes of the half. Wilson capped the 37-second drive with a 22-yard touchdown pass to Gunner Romney with 59 seconds until the break.

Romney led the Cougars with seven receptions for 101 yards, his third straight game with 100-plus receiving yards.

Defense delivers again

Through one quarter, Louisiana Tech was tied 7-7 with BYU, courtesy of a 66-yard touchdown pass where the Bulldogs’ Smoke Harris juked several BYU defenders.

After that, though, the Cougars defense mostly held La Tech in check until the game was well in hand. The Bulldogs converted just 5 of 14 third downs and had 313 yards of total offense, while the Cougars had three sacks — all from Tyler Batty — and six tackles for loss. BYU also had its first two interceptions of the season.

At one point, Louisiana Tech punted on six straight drives.

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End fourth quarter

BYU 45, Louisiana Tech 14

BYU’s second interception of the night, this one from Max Tooley, ended La Tech’s final drive of the night and the Cougars kneel this one out to stay unbeaten.

4:58, fourth quarter

BYU 45, Louisiana Tech 14

The Bulldogs add their first score since the first quarter on a 4-yard Smoke Harris catch, ending a 17-play, 75-yard drive. All that’s left to decide is BYU’s margin of victory.

13:25, fourth quarter

BYU 45, Louisiana Tech 7

Zach Wilson continues to impress, this time running for a 14-yard touchdown as he dives across the goal line for the score. It’s his third rushing touchdown of the night, and BYU’s fifth touchdown in its last six drives.

This one ate up more time, as the Cougars’ scoring drive when 71 yards on 10 plays and took 5:01 off the clock.

End third quarter

BYU 38, Louisiana Tech 7

BYU is well in control and is again driving with Zach Wilson still out on the field. He now has 325 passing yards and the Cougar rushing attack has 155 yards. With a touchdown here, it’s likely Wilson’s night is done.

7:19, third quarter

BYU 38, Louisiana Tech 7

A quick three-and-out for Louisiana Tech leads to another score. Tyler Allgeier was originally ruled to have scored on a 54-yard run to start the drive, but after review, he was marked out at the La Tech 31. Four plays later, Jake Oldroyd connects on a 45-yard field goal, and BYU has scored on five straight drives.

11:35, third quarter

BYU 35, Louisiana Tech 7

The Cougars take their first drive of the second half easily down the field for another touchdown and this offense is rolling again. Zach Wilson ends the drive — a seven-play, 75-yarder — with a 1-yard touchdown run, and he is nearing 300 yards passing on the night, as he now has 287.

Halftime

BYU 28, Louisiana Tech 7

BYU is pacing for another 600-yard offensive night, with 306 yards through the first two quarters. Zach Wilson has been phenomenal, completing 18 of 19 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 28 yards and another score.

On La Tech’s final drive of the half, Tyler Batty came up with two sacks to help the Cougars come up with the stop. BYU has held the Bulldogs to 164 yards and 2 of 7 on third downs so far, as the Cougars are playing well again on both sides of the ball.

0:59, second quarter

BYU 28, Louisiana Tech 7

The Cougar offense just one-upped itself, marching 80 yards on five plays and taking just 37 seconds off the clock to build a three-score lead when Zach Wilson hit Gunner Romney for a 22-yard touchdown pass. Simply impressive.

Wilson completed four straight passes and ran for 15 yards on the touchdown drive.

5:07, second quarter

BYU 21, Louisiana Tech 7

The Cougar offense has got it rolling in the second quarter, with two straight touchdown drives to build a 14-point lead. This score came on a 1-yard run by Tyler Allgeier after Gunner Romney skied to make a 22-yard catch that was initially ruled a touchdown but marked at the 1 after review.

BYU now has 226 yards of total offense, while Zach Wilson has thrown for 171 yards on 14 of 15 passing.

10:34, second quarter

BYU 14, Louisiana Tech 7

BYU is back ahead after Zach Wilson led a 58-yard, six-play drive, capped by a beautiful touchdown pass to tight end Carter Wheat for a 22-yard score. Wilson is 10 for 10 passing for 122 yards so far, and has rushed for 13 yards.

The Cougars only had one third down on the drive, converting a third-and-3 with a 6-yard Tyler Allgeier run to set up the TD pass on the next play.

End first quarter

BYU 7, Louisiana Tech 7

BYU will punt to start the second quarter and has been outplayed since taking the early 7-0 lead. La Tech’s defense, in particular, has stood tall the past two Cougar drives and is holding BYU to 1 of 3 on third down thus far.

2:26, first quarter

BYU 7, Louisiana Tech 7

Troy Warner stops a promising La Tech drive, intercepting Luke Anthony on a long pass downfield at the BYU 21. Warner went high over the receiver to haul in the pick — the Cougars’ first interception of the year — on a pass that floated a bit in the air. This came after the Cougar offense stalled, coming up short on a fourth down play near midfield on the Bulldog side of the field to give La Tech solid field position.

Thus far, this is BYU’s tightest game of the season. Right now, the Bulldogs have 110 yards of total offense to 108 for the Cougars.

6:51, first quarter

BYU 7, Louisiana Tech 7

BYU’s defense has a rare letdown, as Louisiana Tech responds to the Cougar touchdown with one of its own. The Bulldogs score on a 66-yard pass from Luke Anthony to Smoke Harris made several BYU defenders miss, and it’s a tie game.

A BYU offsides penalty wiped out an interception on third down earlier in the drive.

10:02, first quarter

BYU 7, Louisiana Tech 0

BYU strikes first, as the Cougars go 78 yards in just six plays on its opening drive to score on a 9-yard Zach Wilson run. A 39-yard pass to Dax Milne, after a 16-yarder to Gunner Romney, put the Cougars in scoring position, and Wilson is off to a strong start.

The BYU defense, meanwhile, forces a punt on the opening drive for the Bulldogs after La Tech picked up 18 yards.

Pre-game

Deseret News BYU football beat writer Jay Drew shares a few player pre-game notes:

There’s a few more cardboard cutouts in the stands tonight:

A look at Louisiana Tech arriving at LaVell Edwards Stadium: