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Highlights, key plays and photos from No. 8 BYU’s 66-14 win over North Alabama

The Cougars had contributions across the board in the blowout win.

Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (25) gets flipped into the air by a North Alabama defender as he dives for the end zone during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020.
Brigham Young Cougars running back Tyler Allgeier (25) gets flipped into the air by a North Alabama defender as he dives for the end zone during a game in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020.
Steve Griffin, Deseret News

It wasn’t a question of if No. 8 BYU would stay perfect on Saturday afternoon. It was a question of how impressive the Cougars would be and how many backups could get valuable reps in facing North Alabama at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Mission accomplished on both fronts, as BYU rolled to a 66-14 victory.

The Cougars improved to 9-0 for just the fourth time in school history with the victory over an FCS opponent, as BYU emptied its bench in the second half.

3 takeaways

Staying efficient on offense

BYU’s offense delivered through the afternoon, to the tune of 555 total yards. It was a balanced attack for the Cougars, with 277 passing yards and 278 rushing yards.

BYU was 8-for-8 in the red zone, scoring touchdowns on every possession inside the North Alabama 20. The Cougars also averaged 9.4 yards per play — including an 11.3 average in the first half — and had a pair of pass plays over 50 yards and three runs over 30 yards.

Zach Wilson completed 10 of 16 passes for 212 yards and four touchdowns in the win, while Tyler Allgeier had 13 carries for 141 yards and two touchdowns, as they both sat in the second half.

Defense gives up yards but few points

The Cougar defense kept the Lions under wraps for much of the day. It wasn’t a perfect effort, but BYU held North Alabama to two touchdowns — one in each half.

The Lions had success in the pass game, throwing for 305 yards and a touchdown. The Cougars kept the North Alabama rushing attack largely in check, holding the visitors to 49 yards.

North Alabama was 6 of 13 on third down, but 0 of 3 on fourth, and BYU had three sacks. The Cougars also forced three turnovers and scored touchdowns off each one.

Clearing the bench

BYU had the chance to give several players the chance to make plays in the lopsided game. In addition to guys like Dax Milne (four catches, 101 receiving yards) and Isaac Rex (three catches, 20 yards, two touchdowns) coming up big on offense, reserves Miles Davis (four carries, 54 yards, two touchdowns) and Kavika Fonua (four receptions, 36 yards, two touchdowns) also had standout games.

On defense, linebacker Isaiah Kaufusi shined with four tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery that, with a 50-yard return, set up a short touchdown drive. Several defenders had strong individual efforts — Malik Moore put up a team-high five tackles and had his first interception of the year, Earl Tuioti-Mariner registered back-to-back sacks, including one on a fourth-down play, and Micah Harper had four tackles and a fumble recovery.

End of fourth quarter

BYU 66, North Alabama 14

The Cougars wrap up the win with a couple late scores. Here’s a look at the final stats:

2:36, fourth quarter

BYU 66, North Alabama 14

A North Alabama fumble turns into a touchdown on the next play for BYU, as Miles Davis runs 26 yards for a touchdown, his second score of the day.

3:36, fourth quarter

BYU 59, North Alabama 14

The Cougars score in the fourth quarter, courtesy of a 53-yard Jake Oldroyd field goal that makes him 10-for-10 on field goals this season. BYU went 36 yards in eight plays on the scoring drive.

12:09, fourth quarter

BYU 56, North Alabama 14

The Lions score for a second time, this time on a 29-yard pass from Rett Files to Jakobi Byrd, to cap an impressive six-play, 69-yard drive. North Alabama has shown the ability all day to throw the ball and now has 285 passing yards.

End of third quarter

BYU 56, North Alabama 7

Miles Davis scores his first touchdown as a Cougar, with a 6-yard run to cap a 55-yard scoring drive. This came after the BYU defense came up with a fourth-down spot on a Earl Tuioti-Mariner sack in Cougar territory. BYU has scored 14 or more points in every quarter today.

Through three quarters, here’s a few notes:

  • BYU has 487 yards o total offense, including 2727 passing yards
  • The Cougars are 8-for-8 in the red zone, all touchdowns
  • BYU is averaging 10.1 yards per play, while holding North Alabama to 4.8

10:50, third quarter

BYU 49, North Alabama 7

The backups have taken over for BYU’s offense, and after the Cougars were forced to punt to start the third quarter, Malik Moore set up BYU in North Alabama territory. Baylor Romney then hit Kavika Fonua for a 7-yard touchdown pass to capitalize on the turnover on a five-play, 39-yard drive.

End of second quarter

BYU 42, North Alabama 7

BYU added four touchdowns in the second quarter to build the 35-point lead. A few first-half notes:

  • Zach Wilson completed 10 of 16 passes for 212 yards and four touchdowns, and Kalani Sitake said on a BYUtv interview he is done for the day
  • BYU put up 389 yards of offense, though North Alabama had 221 and held a nearly five-minute edge in time of possession
  • The Cougars offense has been balanced, with 212 yards passing and 177 rushing, led by 136 yards from Tyler Allgeier

0:40, second quarter

BYU 42, North Alabama 7

BYU counters the North Alabama quick strike with one of its own, scoring on a three-play, 75-yard drive that took just 57 seconds of the clock. Zach Wilson flipped a 22-yard touchdown pass to Kavika Fonau for Fonau’s first score of the year.

Dax Milne had a 58-yard catch to get the drive going:

1:37, second quarter

BYU 35, North Alabama 7

The Lions have their first scoring drive of the day, going 75 yards on six plays — aided by a BYU personal foul penalty — to add a quick score. Ja’Won Howell scores on a 2-yard run for his first touchdown of the season, and the Cougars won’t have a shutout.

2:59, second quarter

BYU 35, North Alabama 0

The Cougars’ fifth score comes on a short field, after Isaiah Kaufusi returns a fumble 50 yards to set BYU up at the Lions 6. It took four plays, though, before Zach Wilson hit Isaac Rex for a 3-yard touchdown pass, Wilson’s third of the game. Rex reached high over the defender for the score, his eighth of the year.

6:39, second quarter

BYU 28, North Alabama 0

The Cougars strike quick after stopping a fourth-down attempt by North Alabama in BYU territory, as Zach Wilson hits Neil Pau’u with a 19-yard strike for a touchdown. That caps a three-play, 62-yard drive that included a 39-yard run from Tyler Allgeier.

Here’s a look at that Allgeier run, as he’s up to 136 yards rushing on 12 carries:

13:24, second quarter

BYU 21, North Alabama 0

The Cougars march right down the field for a third straight score, this one again a 2-yard Tyler Allgeier run. Allgeier ripped off a 30-yard run on the 11-play, 86-yard drive, and BYU is at 246 yards of total offense.

End of first quarter

BYU 14, North Alabama 0

The Cougars are in control and driving again as the period ends. A few notes from the first quarter:

  • BYU has 211 yards of total offense, showing balance with 110 through the air and 101 on the ground.
  • Zach Wilson’s completion percentage lower than normal, as he’s 6 of 11 with a touchdown
  • Tyler Allgeier has 61 rushing yards, with a score
  • The Cougar defense has a sack from Isaiah Kaufusi and is holding North Alabama to minus-3 yards rushing
  • The Lions have 81 passing yards in the first quarter

4:32, first quarter

BYU 14, North Alabama 0

BYU goes 91 yards for a touchdown on its second possession, scoring on a 2-yard Tyler Allgeier run, his 10th touchdown of the season. This drive went 91 yards and included a 33-yard Zach Wilson run.

9:42, first quarter

BYU 7, North Alabama 0

The Cougars march down the field on their opening possession — sparked by a 50-yard pass to Gunner Romney on the first play — and take the early lead with a six-play, 80-yard drive. Isaac Rex makes his seventh touchdown catch of the season, from 2 yards out.

Pre-game

Here are a few links to stories you may want to read prior to or during the game:

Deseret News BYU football beat writer Jay Drew provides a few personnel updates: