BYU’s dream of an undefeated season remains alive and well after a dominating win on the blue turf at Boise State on Friday night.

At a place where the No. 9 Cougars have experienced so many nightmarish finishes, filled with heartbreak and disappointment, they overwhelmed No. 21 Boise State, 51-17.  

It wasn’t always pretty during the first half, but BYU removed all drama early in the second half. Leading 7-3 in the first quarter, the Cougars scored 38 consecutive points, earning some style points along the way.

Highlights, key plays and photos from No. 9 BYU’s 51-17 victory over No. 21 Boise State
No. 9 BYU got a rare opportunity to make a statement against No. 21 Boise State, and made the most of it

Quarterback Zach Wilson completed 21 of 27 passes for 359 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another TD.

With the victory, BYU improves to 8-0 this season — its best start since 2001 — while Boise State falls to 2-1. 

It marks the Cougars’ first triumph in six tries against BSU at Albertsons Stadium. 

In the five previous meetings between the two teams in Boise, the Broncos won three of those games by one point each. The other loss, two years ago, was a five-point deficit that ended with a scrambling Wilson being tackled inside the BSU 5-yard line as time expired. 

This time, the Cougars rolled in what was just Boise State’s ninth loss at home since 2000. 

How bad did things go for the Broncos?

Freshman third-string quarterback Cade Fennegan, a returned missionary and son of former BYU QB Garth Fennegan, replaced an injured backup Jack Sears in the first quarter. In the second half, the Broncos put in fourth-string quarterback Andy Peters, a true freshman walk-on, at quarterback.

The Cougars’ defense held Boise State to 310 yards, while BYU’s offense amassed 573 yards. 

Big stage, big performance by Zach Wilson in blowout win over Boise State
BYU, Boise State both shorthanded for showdown of ranked teams Friday night

Gunner Romney had six catches for 133 yards and Dax Milne caught three balls for 99 yards. Isaac Rex had five receptions for 45 yards and two touchdowns. Tyler Allgeier ran 14 times for 123 yards and a pair of TDs.   

Friday’s win validates Wilson’s Heisman Trophy candidacy, and also validates BYU’s top-10 ranking and its chances of playing in a New Year’s Six bowl. 

Odds are long that the Cougars could reach the College Football Playoff — but in this bizarre 2020 season impacted by a global pandemic, perhaps anything is possible. 

Up 16-3 at halftime, BYU built on its lead with an 86-yard drive capped by Wilson’s 5-yard touchdown pass to Rex on its first drive of the second half. 

Wilson connected with Rex again on a 20-yard TD pass with 6:57 remaining in the third quarter to make it 31-3. 

Scoring summary:

BYU 51, Boise State 17

First quarter

BYU, Tyler Allgeier 86-yard run (11:24), Jake Oldroyd kick

BSU, Jonah Dalmas 39-yard field goal (3:27)

Second quarter

BYU, Jake Oldroyd 47-yard field goal (14:54)

BYU, Zach Wilson 4-yard run (1:00), kick blocked

Third quarter

BYU, Isaac Rex 5-yard pass from Zach Wilson (12:48), Jake Oldroyd kick

BYU, Isaac Rex 20-yard pass from Zach Wilson (6:57), Neil Pau’u pass from Zach Wilson

BYU, Lopini Katoa 20-yard run (1:26), Jake Oldroyd kick

Fourth quarter

BYU, Neil Pau’u 1-yard run (11:27), Jake Oldroyd kick

BSU, Khalil Shakir 52-yard pass from Cade Fennegan (9:17), Jonah Dalmas kick

BSU, Khalil Shakir 46-yard pass from Cade Fennegan (9:07), Jonah Dalmas kick

BYU, Tyler Allgeier 2-yard run (7:59), kick failed

Later in the quarter, the Cougars extended their lead to 38-3 when Lopini Kotoa scored on a 20-yard TD run.

Early in the fourth quarter, Neil Pau’u rushed for a 1-yard touchdown, making the score 45-3. 

Boise State didn’t score its first touchdown until the 9:47 mark of the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 45-10. Moments later, they added another quick TD after a successful onside kick.

Later, Allgeier scored again to push the Cougars over the 50-point threshold. 

BYU jumped out to an early 7-0 lead on its second play from scrimmage as Allgeier raced 86 yards — the Cougars’ longest run of the season — up the middle for a touchdown. 

On Boise State’s second possession, Fennegan replaced Sears and immediately led the Broncos on a drive that yielded a 39-yard field goal to make the score 7-3.

In the second quarter, BYU twice squandered scoring opportunities after gaining turnovers in Boise State territory — an interception by Caleb Christensen and a fumble recovery by Keenan Pili.

After the first turnover, BYU had to punt after a three-and-out. After the second turnover, the Cougars drove to the Broncos’ 8-yard line on a 22-yard reception by Milne but time ran out to end the half.

Earlier in the quarter, BYU scored on an eight-play, 96-yard drive — the Cougars’ longest of the season — capped by a 4-yard TD run by Wilson. The extra point was blocked.

BYU is off until it hosts North Alabama on Nov. 21.