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Highlights, key plays and photos from BYU’s season-opening 55-3 win over Navy

BYU running back Lopini Katoa runs for a 39-yard touchdown during the first quarter of the Cougars’ game against Navy on Monday, Sept. 7, 2020, at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md.
Jaren Wilkey/BYU

SALT LAKE CITY — BYU took control early and showed dominance on both sides of the ball in beating Navy 55-3 on Labor Day night at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

The Cougars (1-0) led 31-0 at halftime, then continued to add to their lead in the second half against the Midshipmen (0-1) in the primetime matchup.

Three takeaways

BYU’s ground game

The Cougars set the tone early against Navy, scoring two touchdowns on the ground in the first quarter, with one each coming from Tyler Allgeier (34 yards) and Lopini Katoa (39 yards).

Allgeier paced the BYU rushing attack, finishing with 132 yards on 14 carries — a 9.4 per-carry average — and two touchdowns. He had 110 rushing yards at halftime.

Katoa added 80 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground — he also had a receiving score — as BYU finished the night with 301 yards and five touchdowns rushing.

Defense shuts down Navy

The Midshipmen, one of the nation’s best running teams with its triple-option attack, never got going on offense, as BYU’s defense stood tall most of the night.

Navy was held to 119 rushing yards — and 149 total — as the Cougars had five sacks and eight tackles for loss, led by two sacks from Isaiah Kaufusi.

The Midshipmen converted just 2 of 11 third-down attempts and were 0 of 2 on fourth down.

An efficient offensive night

The Cougars offense had a big night overall, even among the backups that took over halfway through the third quarter. BYU finished with 580 yards of total offense — showing balance with 279 yards passing to go with the 301 rushing yards.

Zach Wilson threw for 232 yards and two touchdowns — he had one interception — while completing 13 of 18 passes in just over two and a half quarters of work before Baylor Romney came in. True freshman Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters even got in later as the third quarterback for BYU.

Gunner Romney also had a huge game, catching four passes for 134 yards, which included a 45-yard touchdown.

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End fourth quarter

BYU 55, Navy 3

The Cougars forced their first turnover midway through the fourth quarter — a fumble inside Navy territory — then used a clock-churning drive to finish the game. BYU got inside the 10 on a drive led by true freshman quarterback Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters, but knelt down on fourth down instead of putting up another score.

7:26, fourth quarter

BYU 55, Navy 3

Keanu Hill had a nice 22-yard reception from Baylor Romney on the Cougars’ latest scoring drive, which covered 43 yards on six plays and took 3:49 off the clock. Jackson McChesney added another rushing touchdown for the Cougars, scoring from 9 yards out.

BYU now has 551 total yards — with a balanced 279 yards via passing and 272 via rushing — and five rushing touchdowns.

End third quarter

BYU 48, Navy 3

The Midshipmen finally got on the board just before the end of the third, as Bijan Nichols hit a 48-yard field goal to cap a nice drive for Navy.

For the Cougars, the backups are taking over. Baylor Romney is on his second drive at quarterback, and BYU has substitutions in all across the board.

3:09, third quarter

BYU 48, Navy 0

Jake Oldroyd’s second field goal of the game — a 34-yarder — has the Cougars up 48 points in the blowout. BYU has scored on all three of its possessions in the second half.

At this point, the Cougars have five times the offensive yards of Navy — 500 to 100.

7:10, third quarter

BYU 45, Navy 0

BYU’s second possession of the second half was another quick score. This time, the Cougars went 80 yards on four plays and Tyler Allgeier capped the possession with a 17-yard touchdown run, his second of the night.

BYU now has 467 yards of total offense to 100 for Navy.

9:15, third quarter

BYU 38, Navy 0

Navy had a promising drive end in Cougar territory, as Chaz Ah You and Payton Wilgar stopped Mark Walker for a 2-yard gain on a fourth-and-4 play at the BYU 22. The Midshipmen got the drive jumpstarted by a 31-yard run from Perry Olsen, but the Cougars made the impressive stop four plays later.

13:05, third quarter

BYU 38, Navy 0

BYU scores again to start the third quarter, and this one comes via the air as Zach Wilson hit Gunner Romney for a 45-yard pass where Romney broke a tackle and broke free for the long score.

That was a quick score, as the Cougars drove 83 yards on four plays and took 1:55 off the clock to open the second half with another touchdown.

Halftime

BYU 31, Navy 0

BYU’s dominant first half was capped by Lopini Katoa’s third touchdown of the game, a driving 1-yard run with eight seconds until the half. It was set up by a 19-yard pass from Zach Wilson to Neil Pau’u to the Navy 1 on the play before.

The Cougars are overpowering the Midshipmen on both sides of the ball, as the BYU offense has 304 yards off total offense through one half, scoring 17 points on three successful red-zone drives. Navy, meanwhile, has just 48 yards of total offense and has gone just 1 of 7 on third downs.

5:00, second quarter

BYU 24, Navy 0

The Cougars stopped Navy on a fourth-and-short near midfield, then ate up clock while driving for an 11-play, 43-yard scoring possession that ended with a Jake Oldroyd 22-yard field goal.

BYU has nearly 200 more yards of total offense than Navy, with a 243-44 edge, with five minutes to go in the first half.

13:31, second quarter

BYU 21, Navy 0

The Cougars built another long drive on the ground, but this time, the score came through the air, as Lopini Katoa scored for the second time tonight on a 15-yard pass from Zach Wilson just a minute and a half into the second quarter.

That capped an eight-play, 89-yard drive for BYU, and the Cougars offense is rolling, with 200 total yards. BYU has converted all three of its third-down attempts.

End first quarter

BYU 14, Navy 0

The Cougars have owned this game through one quarter, putting up 147 yards of total offense to just 21 for the Midshipmen. Navy couldn’t capitalize on BYU’s one turnover, and the Cougar defense has allowed the home team to convert just 1 of 5 third-down conversions through the first 15 minutes.

2:52, first quarter

BYU 14, Navy 0

BYU has its first mistake, as quarterback Zach Wilson was intercepted by Evan Fochtman at the Cougar 42, and he returned the pick to the BYU 33.

Navy couldn’t capitalize, though, at it lost 15 yards on the next play when Midshipmen quarterback Chance Warren was sacked by Isaiah Kaufusi and lost the ball. Navy recovered at the BYU 48, but couldn’t convert a first down.

7:16, first quarter

BYU 14, Navy 0

BYU’s had two possessions and two rushing touchdowns.

The second comes courtesy of Lopini Katoa, who scored on a 39-yard touchdown to cap a three-play, 52-yard drive. Right now, BYU has rushed for 100 yards on the ground on just seven rushing attempts for a 14.3 per-carry average.

Navy, conversely, has just eight rushing yards through its first two possessions.

10:07, first quarter

BYU 7, Navy 0

The Cougars strike first, as Tyler Allgeier hit the outside for a 34-yard touchdown run to cap a seven-play, 74-yard drive that took 2:49 off the block on BYU’s opening drive of 2020.

The Cougars twice converted third downs on the drive and picked up 59 yards on the ground.

Former BYU tight end Chad Lewis, the father-in-law of senior Matt Bushman — who’s out for the year with an Achilles injury — shared a photo of the two of them taking in today’s game:

Another former Cougar, Kansas City Chiefs safety Daniel Sorensen — who recently received his Super Bowl LIV ring — gave a shoutout to BYU on Twitter:

Pre-game

Deseret News BYU beat writer Jay Drew reported that one of BYU’s backup quarterbacks, Jaren Hall, is at the stadium but is not wearing his uniform:

Former BYU quarterback Taysom Hill, now in his fourth season with the New Orleans Saints, sent his support for the Cougars on social media:

BYU will be wearing the all-white jerseys, with royal accent trim:

Drew provides a look inside the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium, venue for tonight’s game:

So, too, does Church News reporter Jason Swensen:

Both teams arrive for the game:

BYU arrived in T-shirts that read “We Are One” on the front and “Love One Another” on the back:

Also from around the Twitterverse: