No. 11 BYU improves to 7-0 with 41-10 rout of Western Kentucky

BYU wide receiver Gunner Romney, left, catches a pass next to Western Kentucky defensive back Roger Cray (24) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)

Provo • There were plenty of tricks and treats at LaVell Edwards Stadium Saturday night, but not so much for Western Kentucky. Instead, No. 11 BYU put up a spookingly good performance, routing the Hilltoppers 41-10 on Halloween night.

The dominating performance bumped BYU’s 2020 record to 7-0 — a feat only managed three times previously. It is also just the fourth time in program history the Cougars will enter November undefeated (1979, 1984, 2001).

BYU coach Kalani Sitake said he hasn’t really thought about the impressive start. Instead, the fifth-year coach is now focusing on the next game.

“Trying to improve on this game and then focusing on getting onto Boise — that’s going to be a tough one and looking forward to that matchup,” Sitake said. “But there’s some things we need to improve on and correct from this game. I’m just happy that our guys are playing well. I’m excited for our fans, but it doesn’t really matter now, just want to learn from this and get to the next game.”

BYU quarterback Zach Wilson (1) out runs Western Kentucky defensive end DeAngelo Malone (10) during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, Pool)

Just like the competition between Cosmo and Big Red came to an end during the first quarter — both schools' mascots buried the hatchet after taking part in a dance off — the game between the Cougars and Hilltoppers was arguably decided early. WKU tried to keep it interesting in the second half, but was never able to string together a comeback of sorts.

After BYU scored on its opening drive, WKU managed to score on a 44-yard field goal. But the Cougars scored 28 unanswered points in the remainder of the first half to go into halftime up 35-3.

“The first drive was a nice drive; I wish we would’ve scored a touchdown but we got three [points],” WKU coach Tyson Helton said. “There were a lot of good things I saw out there tonight from an offensive standpoint as far as moving the ball, we just need to get into the end zone.”

The Hilltoppers threatened to score their first touchdown as soon as the second half started, and got within one yard of doing so, but the BYU defense made the all-too-important stop to instead force a turnover on downs.

While BYU quarterback Zach Wilson didn’t finish the night with the best stat line — the junior had more incompletions Saturday (14) than in the first three games combined (11) — he still threw for 224 yards and 3 touchdowns. Wilson also added a rushing score.


• No. 11 BYU remains undefeated with 41-10 victory over Western Kentucky, improves to 7-0 for fourth time in program history.

• Junior WRs Dax Milne and Gunner Romney each surpass 1,000 career receiving yards.

• Zach Wilson’s record interception-free streak comes to an end at 184 attempts.

Also, for just the second time this season, Wilson threw an interception. The junior’s record interception-free streak (184) came to an end in the third quarter.

“He was off because he threw an interception, but for the most part I like the way he ran the offense,” Sitake said. “Western Kentucky’s a tough [opponent]. They do a lot of pressures, they do a lot of things differently and they’re really aggressive.”

It was also the first time this season the Cougars allowed an opponent to score off a turnover. WKU was able to convert a play later to score its first touchdown of the night.

BYU wide receivers Dax Milne and Gunner Romney also made history Saturday night: Both juniors went over 1,000 career receiving yards. Milne had 67 yards (1,060 career yards) and one touchdown on five receptions against WKU, while Romney added 59 yards (1,054 career yards) on five receptions.

Jake Oldroyd also set a BYU kicking record with his 71st made PAT in a row.

BYU will have its biggest test of the season next week when the Cougars hit the road to take on No. 25 Boise State in a Friday night game — the first game against a ranked opponent this year. The Broncos have started the 2020 season 2-0.

Wilson is looking forward to the opportunity.

“That’s a great football team over at Boise, and they do well at home as well,” Wilson said. “This is a big week for us. Preparation-wise, everybody’s got to be dialed in. We’ve got to get on the film and we got to take it seriously in practice because this is a good football team we’re going to face. And we’ve got to give them our best shot.”

Return to Story