QB Zach Wilson is a projected first-round pick. He showed why in BYU’s Boca Bowl rout of UCF
Zach Wilson forged a delivery and rolled to his right. The BYU quarterback was moments away from his final high against UCF in the Boca Bowl on Tuesday at FAU Stadium.
Wilson planted his feet and fired a pass on the right sideline, where Neil Pau'u took a step on his defender.
Pau'u picked up the perfectly placed ball for a 35-yard touchdown, the Cougars' fifth in six trips in the first half.
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It was a reminder of two things that became apparent more than once in BYU's # 16 49:23 win at the time.
First, UCF had no answers on one of college football's best quarterbacks. Second, Wilson showed no mercy in what was probably his last game as a college football player.
Wilson threw past for 425 yards on 26-of-34. At halftime he had 330 passes - better than all but three of his single game performances this season. He was responsible for five touchdowns in the first two quarters, three with his arm and two with his legs.
And he looked the whole part of the first round that he'll most likely become if he chooses a pro - a decision Wilson hasn't made yet.
"I don't know yet," said Wilson when asked about his plans. "I will probably enjoy the Christmas break and argue with coaches, argue with my family and find out what is best." Obviously, (a decision) must probably be before the new year. "
ESPN's Todd McShay ranked Wilson, a junior, the No. 15 overall player and fourth-placed quarterback behind Clemson's Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields of Ohio State, and Trey Lance of North Dakota State in that draft cycle.
"I love his competitiveness and toughness in my pocket," wrote McShay of Wilson in his latest leaderboard, "and he has a high-end ability to extend games." Its accuracy on deep balls is also excellent. "
McShay's ESPN colleague Mel Kiper Jr. ranked Wilson 14th overall, noting Wilson "has an excellent arm and can climb into his pocket to find the open receiver".
"It's the complete package," added Kiper.
Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Zach Wilson (1) with the MVP trophy after beating UCF Knights in the 2020 Boca Raton Bowl at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton on Tuesday, December 22, 2020.
So, of course, Wilson picked a UCF defense, who came 117th out of 127 Football Bowl subdivision teams in passing defense. An average of 283.4 yards were allowed per game, and a handful of starters were missing on the defensive. Richie Grant, Aaron Robinson and Derek Gainous, and defense attorneys Stephon Zayas and Landon Woodson.
BYU hit 655 yards offensive, nine yards from their season high against Troy on September 26.
Wilson led touchdown runs of 87, 72, 76, 68 and 87 yards in the first half as BYU (11-1), No. 16 in the final college football playoff rankings, a 35-10 lead in the Half-time took over. He threw two touchdown passes to finish Isaac Rex (36 yards on a flare and 27 yards over center) in addition to the touchdown throw in the second quarter to Nau'u.
Brigham Young Cougars players hold the championship title after defeating UCF Knights in the 2020 Boca Raton Bowl at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton on Tuesday, December 22, 2020.
Wilson ran for two more touchdowns, a 15-yard scamper to end the game's first drive, and a 3-yard run to take BYU to 21-0 with 25 seconds in the first quarter.
But Tuesday was only the last in Wilson's dominance this year. He came into play and completed 73.2 percent of his passes for 3,267 yards and 30 touchdowns against just three interceptions. Wilson has also demonstrated his mobility this season, rushing to 242 yards and eight touchdowns in the bowl game.
UCF (6-4) broke the shutout when Greg McCrae's 5-yard touchdown run completed a 15-game, 80-yard run at 10:11 in the second quarter, putting BYU's lead of 14 points, 21-7 , to reduce. This is the closest point the Knights would hit for the rest of the night and was one of the few instances where UCF's usually high-octane crime managed to maintain a campaign against BYU.
Seven of the Knights' first nine drives ended with either a punt or a turnover with downs before ending the game with two touchdown drives.
The Cougars mostly relied on their running game in the second half, adding touchdowns on a 35-yard run by Tyler Allgeier and a 6-yard run by Gunner Romney in the third quarter to put BYU's lead on 49-17 toward the fourth quarter to improve. Allgeier ran 19 runs for a career high of 173 yards.
this and that
▪ UCF's Divaad Wilson, an alumnus from northwest Miami, was kicked out for target in the first quarter after taking the lead from Lopini Katoa with his helmet in a duel over a UCF defender at the end of BYU with his helmet.
▪ 22 players on the UCF list come from the districts of Miami-Dade or Broward.
▪ The UCF defense gave up more than 650 meters for the second time this season. The other came when it allowed 703 yards against Memphis on October 17.
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