BYU entered the Boca Raton Bowl never having won in Florida state – but that all changed on Tuesday, when the Cougars routed UCF 49-23 in the postseason game.
The win improved BYU to 11-1 on the season, for the first 11-game winning season since 2009. It is also the first season of a Cougars loss since 1996, when BYU was 14-1.
“Things turned out on our side tonight, but I know [UCF is] a well-trained team, ”said BYU coach Kalani Sitake. “Coach [Josh] Heupel is a great coach, and he has a great staff, and these guys will be back. They will be ready to roll and I think things happened for us very quickly and worked in our favor. I’m glad we got the win.
In what was to be a high profile affair, only the Cougars maintained their offensive side of the market. BYU amassed 655 total yards, while keeping the UCF at 411. The Knights previously averaged 585.6 yards per game (second best in the country).
UCF have scored 30 or more points in 45 of their last 47 games, but wanted more on Tuesday.
Even UCF Heupel said he didn’t see the lopsided score coming – especially the Knights end low point total.
“We’re very disappointed with the way we’ve played here tonight, really, every phase of the game,” Heupel said.
Knights quarterback Dillon Gabriel arrived with similar stats to Zach Wilson, but was effectively stopped in the bowling game, especially in the first half. The UCF could not score in the first quarter, giving up possession on two punters and a roll on the lows, before securing the first score of the game in the second quarter.
But while the Knights may have been hoping to add a second touchdown before half-time, they had to settle for a basket.
“We came out here with a sense of swagger and just performed at a high level early in this game,” defensive back Troy Warner said of BYU’s defensive play. “It was a great tribute to the upcoming game plan.”
While this was Wilson’s last game as a Cougar, the BYU quarterback ended his college career with a solid performance. Wilson pitched for 425 yards and three touchdowns on 26 of 34 passes. The junior also added two scores to the race.
The BYU quarterback expects to make his decision by the New Year.
“I’m going to meet my family and go over the pros and cons, and we’ll find out,” Wilson said.
Tyler Allgeier led the Cougars running game with a career-high 173 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. In the aerial game, Wilson took advantage of several receivers; five different players had over 50 receiving yards. Freshman Isaac Rex led all receivers with 96 yards and two touchdowns, while Lopini Katoa added 90 yards, Neil Pau’u had 86 yards and one scoring, Dax Milne had 70 yards and Allgeier added 60 yards on receipt.
Allgeier and Milne finished the season with over 1,000 rushing and receiving yards, respectively.
BYU has scored in seven of its 12 practices, including five consecutively, returning the ball twice down and punting only once.
The Cougars have made 15 games less than the Knights, but are averaging 9.0 yards per game compared to UCF’s 4.7 yards per game.
Offensive lineman Chandon Herring said getting the chance to end the 2020 season with this strong offensive performance was “immensely satisfying.”
“Seeing that we came out juicy and were able to achieve it, that says a lot about the character of the guys we have and the job we put in,” Herring said. “So it was super satisfying. I am very proud of it. ”