PROVO, Utah – The BYU football team totaled 449 yards on offense while only allowing 271 yards on defense as it overwhelmed Idaho State 42-10 on Senior Day at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Running back Sione Finau rushed the ball 16 times for 102 yards and a score to become the first running back to top 100 yards for the Cougars this season. Quarterback Zach Wilson surpassed 3,000 career passing yards as he completed 19 of 31 pass attempts for 187 yards and two touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Micah Simon led the team with seven receptions for 76 yards while also rushing three times for 34 yards and a score. Senior wideout Talon Shumway hauled in two touchdown passes as he had five catches for 41 yards on the day.
On defense, senior defensive back Austin Lee posted five tackles, a tackle for loss and had a pick-six in the first quarter for his first career touchdown. Senior defensive back Dayan Ghanwoloku also had an interception as BYU (6-4) added to its season interception tally at 14 now.
With the win, BYU became bowl eligible for the 14th time in 15 seasons. Following the game, BYU officially accepted an invitation to the 2019 SoFi Hawai'i Bowl.
The Cougar defense scored the first points of the game when Chris Wilcox deflected a ball up in the air for Lee to intercept and return 26 yards for a touchdown to put BYU up 7-0 over Idaho State (3-8) six minutes into the first quarter.
Penalties hampered the BYU offense to start the game as the Cougars were called for four penalties that stalled four different drives. In his first start after missing four games, Wilson got the offense going at the end of the first period leading the team to three first downs, including a 12-yard rush on an option play to move the sticks. Finau ended the quarter with a 7-yard rush up the middle that put the Cougars at Bengal 45-yard line.
- Austin Lee recorded his first interception return for a touchdown in his career, his third interception in his career
- Lee's defensive touchdown is the first since Dayan Ghanwoloku recovered a fumble and returned it for a score vs. Cal in 2018
- Jackson McChesney took the first carry of his BYU career for six yards
Wilson completed back-to-back passes to Simon for 10- and four-yard gains. Capitalizing on an Idaho State face mask penalty, Simon capped off the 77-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown rush on a jet sweep to the far side of the field. Oldroyd’s successful PAT extended BYU’s lead to 14-0 two minutes into the quarter.
On the first play of the ensuing Bengal drive, Matt Struck hit Michael Dean on a seam route for a 40-yard gain to the Cougar 35-yard line. BYU held Idaho State to a 27-yard field goal attempt that bounced off the right upright and in to cut the Cougars’ lead to 14-3 with 9:46 remaining in the half.
Finau started off the following drive with two rushes for 12 yards to the BYU 37-yard line. On his second jet sweep of the game, Simon burst down the field before being pulled down at the Bengal 40-yard line for a 20-yard gain. Simon later pulled in a pass in the flats and juked a defender near the line of scrimmage before sprinting 19 yards down the sideline to the Idaho State 16-yard line. Finau finished off the drive on the next play cutting up the middle of the field for a 16-yard score, making the score 21-7.
After the defense forced another punt, Kyle Griffitts blocked the punt by bull-rushing a Bengal player into the ball with Will Watanabe recovering the ball for the Cougars at the Idaho State 27-yard line. BYU took advantage of the field position with Shumway out-jumping a defender at the goal line to pull down a pass from Wilson for the score, increasing the Cougars’ lead to 28-3.
After the Bengals drove the ball to the BYU 34-yard line, Idaho State tried to go for it on fourth down with one yard to move the sticks. JJ Nwigwe wrapped up the Bengals’ running back behind the line of scrimmage for a one-yard loss to force the turnover on downs.
With less than three minutes until halftime, Wilson led the Cougars down the field completing passes to Matt Bushman and Finau for 18- and 13-yard gains. The drive set up a 38-yard field goal attempt from Jake Oldroyd that went wide as time expired.
- Micah Simon recorded his first career rushing touchdown with a 12-yard carry
- Simon has now passed for a touchdown, caught two touchdowns and rushed for one touchdown this season.
- First punt-block by the BYU special teams unit since 2016 vs. UMass, and first of the season. Kyle Griffitts records his first of his career
- Talon Shumway’s 26-yard touchdown was his second of the season and longest of his career, the fifth of his career
- Matt Bushman ties for sixth in all-time BYU receptions by a tight end with Chad Lewis at 111
Dax Milne returned a punt 31 yards to the BYU 40-yard to set up the first offensive drive of the second half for the Cougars. Wilson found Simon two plays in a row for gains of 15 and 25 yards to move the ball into Idaho State territory to the 35-yard line. Wilson found Shumway in the end zone for a 3-yard score extend BYU’s lead to 35-3.
The Cougar offense was back on the field two plays later after Dayan Ghanwoloku picked off a pass and returned it eight yards to the Idaho State 26-yard line. Wilson rushed the ball on a quarterback keeper 21 yards down to the 5-yard line. On a scrum play, defensive lineman Khyiris Tonga punched the ball in for a 3-yard touchdown, increasing BYU’s lead to 42-3 with 7:30 left in the period.
Midway through the period, Idaho State running back Malakai Rango sprinted 54 yards up the middle of the field for the Bengals’ first touchdown of the game to make the score 42-10.
- Shumway’s first multi-touchdown game since Nov. 10 at UMass where he caught two
- Dayan Ghanwoloku’s second interception of the season, seventh of his career
- Khyiris Tonga’s scored his first career TD on a three-yard rush
- Micah Simon's seven receptions tied his career-high marking the third time this season he has caught seven passes (Liberty, Tennessee)
With 11:43 left in the game, Joe Critchlow took over at quarterback as the Cougars put in their second unit for what ended up being the final possession of the game. Critchlow completed passes to four different receivers for a total of 58 yards while McChesney rushed the ball six times for 25 yards. BYU ate up the clock as it drove the ball down to the Bengal 1-yard line where Critchlow knelt the ball three times to drain out the remaining time on the clock and seal the 42-10 victory.
- Keanu Hill recorded first career reception for 17 yards
- Tevita Ika recorded first career reception for 18 yards
- Carter Wheat recorded first career reception for eight yards
- BYU rushes for more than 200 yards for the third time this season (at USF, at Utah State)
The Cougars will next make their first trip to Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium to play UMass in Amherst, Massachusetts, on Saturday, Nov. 23. Kickoff is scheduled for noon EST and the game will be televised on FloFootball. Radio broadcasts will be available on BYU Radio Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM and KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM.