BYU pulls off win against Houston, 43-26

Ari Davis | Posted: 21 Jan 2021 | Updated: 21 Jan 2021
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Zach Wilson
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HOUSTON – Despite trailing at halftime and at the end of the third quarter after a fast start, No. 13/14 BYU finished strong putting up 29 unanswered points in the second half to defeat Houston 43-26 on Friday night at TDECU Stadium.

"I’m proud of our players and the way they were able to respond to adversity," head coach Kalani Sitake said. "We got the momentum early and it started to slip away. We had to regroup at halftime and talk things over. We collaborated with our players and talked as a staff and came up with a great game plan on defense, offense and special teams."

Quarterback Zach Wilson and wide receiver Dax Milne led the charge on the offense with both recording career high games. Milne boasted a career-best 184 receiving yards as well as career highs in receptions with nine and touchdowns with three. The wideout averaged 20.4 yards a catch with a career-long 78-yard touchdown reception on BYU’s first offensive play and an 18-yard score that iced the win.

Wilson went 25-for-35 on the night with his first career 400-yard passing game, finishing with exaclty 400 yards and four touchdowns. The junior also led all rushers with nine attempts for 40 yards with a long rush of 32 yards.  

Isaiah Kaufusi and Keenan Pili led the Cougars on defense, both totaling eight tackles and one tackle for loss each. Zac Dawe added three tackles for loss, including one sack, while Tyler Batty recorded 1.5 tackles for loss.

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Postgame Notes

First Half Review

Despite Houston getting an early 3-0 lead on the first drive, the BYU offense came out flying. With BYU’s first play of the game, Wilson sent a ball 78 yards deep to Milne who took the ball all the way into the end zone for BYU’s first score. The one-play, 19-second touchdown pass was a career-long for both Wilson and Milne as BYU went up 7-3 with 9:34 left in the first quarter.

On the next BYU drive, Wilson used his feet, scrambling down the field for a 32-yard gain followed immediately by a 35-yard pass to tight end Isaac Rex. Three plays later, Lopini Katoa punched in the ball for another BYU touchdown, increasing BYU’s lead to 14-3.

Houston fought its way back, putting up a touchdown of its own followed by a field goal on its next drive. With the two scoring drives, Houston took the lead again at 17-14 with 4:42 left in the half. Houston capped the first half with a 49-yard field goal, pushing its lead to 20-14 going into halftime.

  • On the one-play opening scoring drive, both Zach Wilson and Dax Milne recorded career-best marks, Wilson with a 78-yard pass and Milne with the reception.
  • The BYU offense ran a double-reverse side play coming from the hands to Wilson, to Katoa, to Neil Pau’u and back to Wilson before connecting with Rex downfield for his career-long 35-yard reception to get BYU into the red zone.

Second Half Review

Houston continued with the momentum by eating up the majority of the clock on a 16-play, 99-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown with just over three minutes left in the quarter. Houston opted to go for two instead of a PAT, but Cougar defensive back George Udo intercepted the pass and Houston settled with six points for a 26-14 lead.

BYU got the final say of the quarter, getting in the end zone one last time before the time expired. An 18-yard pass to Pau’u followed by a 19-yard reception to Masen Wake set up Wilson to again connect with Milne, this time for 37-yards, to the Houston one-yard line. Two plays later Milne caught the ball for six points and Oldroyd connect on the PAT to decrease Houston’s lead, 26-21.

After a 13-yard shanked punt by Houston, BYU’s offense got the ball back on Houston’s 23-yard line. Wilson made quick work with a 13-yard pass to Milne, followed by a quick underhand shovel pass to Wake for eight yards that put BYU in the end zone again. BYU elected to go for two and Wilson found Tyler Allgeier in the end zone as BYU pulled ahead 29-26 at the 10:35 mark.

The Cougars built on their momentum as Wilson made long yardage plays with a 24-yard rush and a 20-yard pass to Rex before finding again finding Milne with an 18-yard touchdown pass on 3rd-and-15 from the Houston 18-yard line.

BYU closed out the game with one last touchdown as Allgeier rushed 14 yards out to close the game and taking the win, 43-26.

  • After the touchdown in the third quarter, BYU opted for an onside kick which was successfully recovered by BYU’s Talmage Gunther
  • For the first time this season, BYU elected for a two-point conversion and Zach Wilson found Tyler Allgeier for the conversion.
  • Zac Dawe grabbed his second sack of the season.

BYU returns home to LaVell Edwards Stadium for a matchup against Texas State on Saturday, Oct. 24. The game is slated for an 8:15 p.m. kickoff on ESPN.    

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