BYU Football 3-0 for the first time under Sitake after 45-14 win over LA Tech

No. 22 BYU dominated the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs 45-14 to improve to 3-0 in a season that keeps on giving for head coach Kalani Sitake and the Cougars.

Zach Wilson led the Cougars to 513 yards of total offense (368 of which he accounted for himself) while the BYU defense held quarterback Luke Anthony and the Bulldogs to 14 points – 52 points less than what LA Tech produced in week two. 

“The whole team was in the zone tonight,” Wilson said. “Anything we tried today, we could do it. We were on the same page all night. We had a strong connection and guys were making plays.”

The BYU defense forced LA Tech to punt early on its first drive, allowing Wilson and the BYU offense to take over from the 19-yard line. The Cougars traveled 78 yards in just six plays as Wilson completed the opening drive with a nine-yard rushing touchdown. 

LA Tech quickly responded with a 66-yard touchdown, tying the score at seven. Anthony split reps in the Bulldogs’ season opener, but earned the starting job with a dominant second half performance in week one. His touchdown pass in the first quarter against BYU marked the seventh-consecutive quarter in which he either threw or rushed for a touchdown. 

BYU quarterback Zach Wilson scores against Louisiana Tech during the first half on Friday, Oct. 2, in Provo. Wilson was the first BYU quarterback since Taysom Hill in 2014 to rush for three touchdowns in one game. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

A little-known rule then disqualified a fumble-turned-touchdown for junior wide receiver Gunner Romney later in the first quarter.

The rule states that if a player fumbles the football on fourth down the player who fumbled the football is the only player permitted to advance the ball. Consequently, the ball was ruled dead where Romney recovered it, negating his 23-yard touchdown and forcing a turnover on downs. 

“We faced some adversity early. Give credit to LA Tech,” Sitake said post-game. “We were able to fight through and get the win.” 

Senior Troy Warner came up with a big interception on the 20-yard line soon after the fumble, however, quickly returning possession to the Cougars. 

BYU finished the first half with three consecutive touchdowns to claim a 28-7 lead going into the break.

Carter Wheat, a freshman from Mesa, Arizona, started the scoring run, claiming his first career touchdown with a 22-yard reception.

The second was set up by Romney, who made an impressive grab before stepping out of bounds at the one-yard line. Tyler Allgeier completed the nine-play scoring drive with a one-yard rushing touchdown, his third of the season.

The final touchdown of the first half was a 22-yard reception by Romney, who collected his 80th yard of the night for six points. All three touchdowns were accompanied by successful PAT’s from Jake Oldroyd.  

BYU wide receiver Gunner Romney scores a 22-yard touchdown to increase the Cougars lead against LA Tech. Romney was the first receiver to go for 100 receiving yards in three consecutive games since Cody Hoffman in 2012. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer).

Wilson opened the scoring in the second half the same way he did in the first, with a rushing touchdown from inside the 10-yard line. Wilson tied his career record of two rushing touchdowns in a single game on the score. 

BYU’s defense kept the Bulldogs’ offense quiet, especially considering the fact that they scored a total of 97 points through the first two weeks of their 2020 campaign.

The Cougars held the Bulldogs to nine first downs and seven points through nine drives, over three quarters of play. The Cougars also secured one interception during that time. 

Wilson completed a hat trick of rushing touchdowns early in the fourth quarter, improving the Cougars’ lead to 45-7. The last time a BYU quarterback rushed for three touchdowns in a single game was when Taysom Hill and the Cougars dominated Texas 41-7 in 2014 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

LA Tech scored a touchdown late in the fourth, doubling their score to a total of 14, more than BYU’s first two opponents, Navy and Troy, combined. Anthony led the bulldogs down the field, capping the drive off with a four-yard touchdown pass to Smoke Harris, who finished the night with three receptions for 82-yards and two touchdowns. 

BYU freshman tight end Carter Wheat celebrates after scoring against Louisiana Tech during the first half on Friday, Oct. 2, in Provo. Wheat caught his first touchdown pass as a Cougar against the Bulldogs. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The Cougars finished a nearly perfect performance with an interception courtesy of Max Tooley, his first of the season and second of his career, securing their third consecutive win of the 2020 season. Three wins and zero losses is the best start to a BYU season since 2014, and the best in the Sitake era. 

The Cougars received plenty of praise from national media in the win, particularly highlighting Wilson’s impressive play.

“We’re going to keep these guys humble and hungry,” Sitake said. “There’s a lot more football to be played.”

The Cougars continue their 2020 campaign with a home game against the University of Texas at San Antonio next Saturday, Oct. 10. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:30 PM and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2. 

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