BYU football: The historic 3-0 of the Cougars builds momentum

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Pumas build on a historical streak

You would have to go back 69 years to find BYU football, which starts consecutive seasons with 3-0 winning streaks. On Saturday, the Cougars are looking to build on when they host South Florida when Kalani Sitake’s team climbed to 15th in the Associated Press poll, beating then-Arizona.

The teams of 1951 and 1952 started 3-0 when BYU was playing in the Skyline Conference.

Here’s a look at our coverage of the dramatic victory over the state of Arizona:

  • Shouldn’t BYU lead the Pac 12 South after ASU win? (Dick Harmon)
  • BYU Takes A Dramatic Victory Over 19th Place ASU (Jay Drew)
  • BYU honors 1996 soccer team during ASU game (Jay Drew)
  • Three takeaways from Cougar win ASU (Brandon Judd)
  • Captain Keenan Pili lost for the season (Ryan McDonald)
  • BYU rises in the polls (Brandon Judd)

Cougar insider predictions

Question of the Week: Will the BYU defense recover from the loss of leading tackler Keenan Pili?

Jay Drew: When BYU quarterback Jaren Hall took the wind out of my sight against Arizona State on Saturday, I started thinking about which offensive and defensive players the Cougars could least afford this season. Linebacker Keenan Pili had naturally limped off the field beforehand.

At the time, I thought that BYU’s most valuable player on offense was running back Tyler Allgeier and his most valuable player on defensive was Pili.

So I’ll say the loss of Pili is going to be tough for the cougars to take. He was arguably her best defensive player. He was by far their lead tackler.

The Cougars said all summer that the linebacker with Pili, Max Tooley and Payton Wilgar was the strong point of the defense. You were right.

But now that Pili is out, they look a little inexperienced at the Mike LB commercial. Ben Bywater has played quite a bit so he’s the obvious replacement. But as Kalani Sitake said Monday, Wilgar and Tooley may need to be relocated to this important point in the middle of the BYU defense.

In short, Pili’s injury hurts the cougars. Much.

Prediction: South Florida won’t be a pushover even if the Cougars are 23-point favorites. BYU 31, USF 27.

Dick Harmon: The loss of Keenan Pili is enormous. BYU will miss its size, speed, and experience. He was able to toggle intermittently and play defensive ending, and he was a hitter in the blitzes that the Cougars used in the first three games. So it’s going to be tough. But in this game, when these tragedies happen, it’s always the next man.

The answer is talent change. Look for Payton Wilgar to see some time with the middle linebacker and the door will be open to Ben Bywater. Bywater had 10 tackles against Arizona playing for the injured Max Tooley and now Tooley, who had that big interference in beating ASU, is healthy. Tooley had 10 tackles last week. This is a great opportunity for Zach Wilson’s brother Josh to step up and gain experience. Drew Jensen was already a factor and I like what Pepe Tanuvasa brings with him.

If there’s a silver lining in a bad situation, it’s because BYU is very low on the linebacker. You may not be the factor Pili was, but you have the potential to be very good. The most important factors in a linebacker are reaction time, feel and soccer IQ. Then comes size and speed. Remember, in 1996, Shay Muirbrook was too young – he was one of the best defensive football players the Cougars ever put on the field. What BYU needs is another talent to grow and prove, and this is a good week and a good opponent to go through those growing pains when BYU welcomes South Florida.

Forecast: BYU 34, South Florida 17.

Cougar stories

Starting 3-0, beating their rivals and being invited to the Big 12 for the first three weeks of September kicked off the cougars, who had not been seen in Provo for a long time. Here are some of the trends and stories that emerged from this success:

From the archives

From the Twitter verse

The state of Arizona has recruited 1.2 million 4-star WRs just so none of them would be able to hold their own against Elder Price and Mitt Romney’s 17 nephews

– Andrew G. Haubner (@A_G_Haubner) September 19, 2021

South Florida has lost 14 consecutive games to FBS opponents.

Since defeating BYU 27-23 in Tampa on October 12, 2019, USF has been 1-15 vs. FBS competition and is 3-24 in its last 27 FBS games (wins vs. UConn 2019, vs. BYU 2019, at East Karolina 2019).

– Greg Wrubell (@gregwrubell) September 20, 2021

BYU rb Tyler Allgeier’s strip on this 3rd qtr interception return could be the biggest forced fumble in CFB’s history! Jumped onto the guy’s back, rode him, and knocked the ball out and into the field with his side arm. BYU restored, one TD rescued. Just wow. #ASUvsBYU

– Trevor Matich (@TMatich) September 19, 2021

Extra points

What to think of Zach Wilson’s interceptions? (Brandon Judd)

BYU-strengthening CFP campaign with 3-0 start (Yahoo Sports)


Comments from readers of Desertet News

The leadership on this team seems to have a huge impact. Jaren Hall appears to be a mature leader and the other captains seem to have instilled an attitude of humility and hard work that take nothing for granted. That mindset will be crucial as you face the next three games against what some call less competition. In reality, any of the next 3 teams could blow BYU if the Cougs don’t bring their A game. Must stay locked up.

– Cheezit

Jaren is really talented at leadership, of course. He was out with me on my first night of his mission and there wasn’t a second of deer in the headlights or reaction from him, he was mature and spoke well and a leader from the start.

I can’t say enough good things about him as a person.

As a team, for whatever reason, they don’t go out calmly and composed.

Arizona started with a punt, punt, punt, then touchdown, touchdown, touchdown.

Utah was punt punt fg then touchdown, punt touchdown.

ASU was a touchdown (from a turnover), punt, punt, punt, touchdown, touchdown and int (should have been the first TD, both are coincidences).

So basically we’re pretty consistent at the punt three times before we figure things out, then build a lead and capture the win.

If you look at how quickly BYU scores points and how efficient the team is when it’s in the flow, common sense would say that the ultimate goal must be to find that flow sooner and then stay in it longer.

– Josh from London


22.-24. September | TBA | Men’s tennis | vs. ITA mountain region | @Provo

September 23 | 7 p.m. | Women’s volleyball | vs. Pacific | @Provo

September 24th | 8 o’clock | Men’s golf | William Tucker Invitation | @Albuquerque, New Mexico

September 24th | TBA | Cross-country skiing | Roy Griak Invitation | @NS. Paul, Minnesota

September 24th | TBA | Swimming | Hit relay | @Salt Lake City

September 25 | 8:15 pm | Football | vs. South Florida | @Provo

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