BYU football is best in the country in plays of 10 yards or more. The Cougars think it all comes down to trust

BYU tight end Isaac Rex (83) makes a reception for a touchdown over North Alabama linebacker Jakob Cummings (36) in the first quarter during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020, in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/Jeff Swinger, Pool)

BYU quarterback Zach Wilson received the snap and surveyed the field. The Cougars already led by four touchdowns, the first half was winding down, and he was headed out of the game at halftime.

Wilson looked to his left before catching junior wide receiver Dax Milne streaking down the middle of the field and aired it out. Then Milne did what he does best: catch the bomb. Milne, a Bingham High alumnus, pulled in the 58-yard pass, and the Cougars punched in the touchdown soon after.

The sequence was indicative of the BYU offense’s calling card this season: Big play after big play after big play.

In the 66-14 blowout win over the North Alabama Lions on Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium, the No. 8 Cougars became the top team in the country in plays that net at least 10 yards. BYU went into Saturday afternoon tied with No. 4 Clemson in that category with 109, per cfbstats.com.

Sophomore running back Tyler Allgeier said what makes the BYU offense special comes down to trust.

“I think trust is the big one that really makes us click,” said Allgeier, who ran for 141 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 10.8 yards per carry. “Honestly, I think that’s just the big success and just having our minds right, just being prepared to do whatever it takes to get in the end zone.”

This season, the big plays have come mostly in the air. The Cougars have multiple receivers averaging double digits in yards per catch this season, led by Milne, who had 101 passing yards in four receptions Saturday.

BYU coach Kalani Sitake credited the offensive staff for creating the schemes. But without saying the word “trust,” he alluded to that idea as why the offense consistently plays well.

“I think we’re playing good team football, complimentary football,” Sitake said. “With the mindset [of] our team, our coaches and our philosophy as a program, we’re utilizing the skill that we have and their strengths and trying to make plays, trying to put as many points on the board as we can.”

For a program that struggled to produce big plays earlier in Sitake’s tenure, the 2020 season has been a revelation. Playmakers now dot the Cougar lineup, while BYU’s offensive line is opening big holes and giving Wilson time to throw.

Wilson only played one half and was replaced by sophomore quarterback Baylor Romney, who went 8 of 10 for 65 yards. Those two combined averaged 10.7 yards per attempt and 15.4 yards per completion.

Junior defensive back Malik Moore said BYU’s offensive players “just click.” He said during practice, they always have their pads on and described how they go about their business as “real strict.”

“I think to see it on the field, it’s cool to know that they all click together and they know their assignments and it just works out when everybody’s doing their [part],” Moore said.

Junior offensive lineman James Empey said the offense is playing its best right now simply because the players are playing for each other and maximizing their time on the field.

“It just comes from everybody trying to do their job the best way they can every time,” Empey said. “When you do that, then good things happen. Then you score a lot of points, you have a lot of bigs plays and you have a good time.”

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