BYU Football: Several Cougars have career nights in 48-7 win over Troy

The BYU Cougars defeated the Troy Trojans by a final score of 48-7 in their home opener on Saturday, with several BYU players setting new career highs.

The Cougars have a total point margin of plus-93 points through their first two weeks of play, the highest margin through the first two games since the 1977 season. 

Junior wide receiver Dax Milne fumbled the first punt return of the game, setting up first-and-10 for the Trojans in what looked like could be a shaky start for the Cougars. The BYU defense responded quickly, however, forcing a turnover in the red zone. Quarterback Zach Wilson then led the Cougars 64 yards downfield to put six points on the scoreboard. The Cougars scored on seven of their nine drives following the Milne fumble. 

“It was no big deal for us, people make mistakes,” Wilson said of Milne’s muffed punt. “We knew we were going to be able to come out on offense and put a (successful) drive together.” 

Tight end Isaac Rex celebrates his first career touchdown at BYU against Troy. Rex and fellow tight end Masen Wake both had their first touchdowns as Cougars on Saturday night. (BYU Photo)

BYU demonstrated its ability to play an air-raid style offense as Wilson threw for a career-high 392 yards, beating his previous record of 316 yards against Western Michigan in the 2018 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. Milne and Gunner Romney combined for a total of 278 receiving yards, the highest combination from two wide-outs in the Kalani Sitake era. 

Both junior receivers had highlight plays on the night, with a 70-yard touchdown from Milne and 52-yard reception for Romney.

“The presence up front was felt, and that’s what we wanted on both sides of the ball,” head coach Kalani Sitake said after the victory. “On offense and defense we want the big guys to lead the way.”

Despite the absence of starting offensive lineman Tristen Hoge, the Cougars found a way to open up holes and get four rushing touchdowns, two from Wilson and two from fullback/tight end Masen Wake.

The BYU defense was equally productive, holding the historically high-scoring Troy offense to a total of seven points. Troy scored 47 points against Middle Tennessee in their season opener.

Head coach Kalani Sitake celebrates against Troy on Saturday. Sitake was impressed with how offense and defense both made their presence felt up front at the line of scrimmage. BYU’s defense held Troy to just seven points on the night. (BYU Photo)

Khyiris Tonga had two sacks and one pass break-up on the night. Senior captain Isaiah Kaufusi, who was originally supposed to miss tonight’s matchup, led the BYU secondary with four tackles, including one sack and one-and-a-half tackles for loss. The Cougars have held their opponents to a total of 10 points through two weeks. 

Several Cougars had career highs and career firsts in BYU’s first-ever matchup with Troy. Here is a complete list of career highs and firsts on the night: 

Career Highs 

  • Zach Wilson, quarterback: Career-high 392 passing yards (previous: 316 yards vs Western Michigan in 2018); Tied career-high two rushing touchdowns (also rushed for two touchdowns at Hawaii in 2019)
  • Gunner Romney, wide-receiver: Career high of 138 receiving yards (previous: 134 yards at Navy in 2020)
  • Dax Milne, wide-receiver: Career-high 140 receiving yards (previous: 60 yards at Utah State in 2019)
  • Mason Wake, tight-end: Career-high two touchdowns
  • Micah Harper, defensive back: Career-high seven tackles 
  • Kennan Pili, line-backer: Career-high nine tackles (previous: five tackles at UMass in 2019) 
  • Jake Oldroyd, kicker: Tied career-long field goal at 54 yards

Career Firsts 

  • Mason Wake, tight-end: First career touchdown 
  • Tyler Batty, defensive-line: First career sack 
  • Isaac Rex, tight-end: First career touchdown 

The Cougars 664 total yards were the most against an FBS team since BYU recorded a total of 681 vs Houston in 2013. 

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