‘Any team, any time, any place,’ says Wilson in 66-14 win over North Alabama


‘Any team, any time, any place,’ says Wilson in 66-14 win over North Alabama

The No. 8 BYU Cougars hosted the unranked North Alabama Lions of the FCS on Saturday in a very one-sided 66-14 victory in favor of Kalani Sitake’s Cougars, who move to 9-0 on the season.

Junior quarterback and Heisman contender Zach Wilson did not wear his traditional Jordan brand headband in the matchup, but instead sported a headband that read, “Any team, any time, any place.”

“I want to remind everybody that we were the only team in the West committed to play football in August,” head coach Kalani Sitake said. “Assume that we want to play games. Tom (Holmoe) is not a hard guy to get a hold of. We want to play games, as many as possible.” 

The statements from Wilson and Sitake come as the Cougars’ season winds down and they find themselves with two bye weeks before the season finale against San Diego State on Dec. 12. A typical season has 12 games, but BYU has just 10 on the schedule currently.

Wilson came out swinging on Saturday afternoon, opening the game with a 50-yard pass to junior wide-out Gunner Romney. Wilson and the Cougars completed the 80-yard drive with a two-yard receiving touchdown from Isaac Rex – his seventh of the season. 

Tyler Allgeier runs the ball against North Alabama on Nov. 21. Allgeier had a career-high 141 yards on 13 carries against the Lions, and also found the end zone twice. (Hannah Miner)

The next two drives culminated with two-yard rushing touchdowns from Tyler Allgeier. With Lopini Katoa missing in today’s matchup, Allgeier handled the majority of the snaps before taking the second half off. Allgeier rushed for a career-high 141 yards and two touchdowns on 13 attempts for an average of 10.8 yards carry. 

Allgeier thanked his teammates for the numbers he put up in the first half.

“All the credit goes to the O-line,” Allgeier said. “I can’t do what I (did) without the big guys, so all the credit goes to them.” 

After stopping the Lions on downs, the Cougars charged 62 yards in three plays to secure another six points in a ruthless first half of play. Allgeier rushed for 43 yards on the drive, including his game-high 39-yard run setting Wilson up for a 19-yard dart to Neil Pau’u for a touchdown. 

Following a 50-yard fumble recovery from Isaiah Kaufusi, the Cougar offense came back on the field with first-and-goal to go. The Lions nearly made a goal-line stop, but Wilson found Rex in the end zone for his second score of the day. The score gave Rex eight touchdowns on the season to surpass his father, Byron Rex, in career touchdown receptions. 

Isaac Rex (83) celebrates a touchdown against North Alabama with his teammates. Rex surpassed his father, Byron Rex, in career touchdowns against the Lions. (Hannah Miner)

Wilson opened his final drive of the game in a similar fashion to his first, completing a 58-yard pass to Dax Milne, setting the Cougars up on the Lions’ 17-yard line. After a false start from Rex, Wilson connected with Kavika Fonua on a crafty sidearm throw for another Cougar touchdown – the Cougars’ fourth of the afternoon.

Wilson and the Cougars scored touchdowns on each of their first six drives against the Lions.

“That’s called having fun with your friends,” senior offensive lineman James Empey said.

The Cougars’ second half was not as exciting as the first, but BYU’s defensive secondary did not disappoint. Baylor Romney took over at quarterback for the Cougars and threw for 65 yards and a touchdown. Freshman running back Miles Davis was very impressive in his second-half performance, rushing for 54 yards and two touchdowns on just four attempts. 

The Cougars finished the game with 66 points, the most points allowed by North Alabama in 76 years.

Isaiah Kaufusi returns a forced fumble 50 yards against North Alabama. The fumble was one of four turnovers forced by the Cougars against the Lions. (Hannah Miner)

The BYU defense showed up ready to eat on Saturday afternoon, forcing three turnovers, including the 50-yard scoop from Kaufusi. Micah Harper and Malik Moore were responsible for the Cougars’ other two turnovers. Harper recovered a fumble in the first quarter and Moore picked off UNA’s Rett Files late in the second quarter. 

The Cougars held the Lions to just 14 points. While BYU’s offense has been electric, the Cougars would not be sitting at a comfortable 9-0 heading into their final scheduled game of the season without their dominant defense. 

Kicker Jake Oldroyd was perfect on the night, hitting all nine extra points and a 53-yard field goal.

The Cougars will host San Diego State for the final scheduled game of the season on Saturday, Dec. 12. 

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