Offense. Defense. Special Teams. Coaching. All four categories left a lot to be desired in BYU’s 45-20 blowout loss to Utah State.
There will be lots of talk in the next week on whether BYU should pull the plug on Tanner Mangum and insert freshman Zach Wilson as the starting QB. This article won’t address that specifically, but rather Zach Wilson’s lone drive in the final minutes of the game that resulted in a touchdown.
Can we really takeaway anything from Zach Wilson’s TD Drive?
Many assumed that the final drive was against Utah State’s backups, but the majority of players on the field were Utah State’s defensive starters. I went back and looked at the tape and cross checked the players on the field with Utah State’s depth chart, and the large majority of players on the field during the drive were starters for the Aggies.
Remember that 26-yard scamper where Zach juked multiple defenders and left two Aggie defenders on the ground? One of those guys was TCU transfer and starting OLB Tipa Galeai, the same guy who got the pick 6 in the first quarter, and the other was starting cornerback DJ Williams.
What was especially impressive on that play was that USU brought 5 guys to bring pressure, and Zach maneuvered in the pocket to avoid the rush before he took off and showed his athleticism.
Zach’s best throw on the drive was a 20-yard pass on the sideline to Talon Shumway. The throw may have been a bit behind Shumway, but it appeared Zach was going for a back-shoulder throw so the defender wouldn’t have a play on the ball. Talon made a nice adjustment on the ball and came down with the catch.
The 18-yard TD pass was an easy throw to the flat, and fellow true freshman Gunner Romney made a nice play getting it into the endzone.
Zach finished 3/4 for 52 passing yards and 25 rushing yards (which led the team) on the 6 play, 77-yard drive.
What will BYU do going forward?
Utah State’s defense was likely more vanilla on that drive than they were earlier in the game, and they spent the whole week planning for Tanner and not Zach. With more tape on Zach, defenses will be able to prepare a game plan tailored for him and attempt to exploit his weaknesses. However, it was promising to see Zach’s athleticism and arm talent, albeit in a very limited sample.
BYU coaches have seen all the practices and the game tape. Now it’s up to them to make the decision of whether Tanner Mangum or Zach Wilson gives the team the best chance to win moving forward.
You can watch Zach’s entire drive below.
Freshman QB @zachkapono showed off his athleticism and versatility at the end of tonight's game vs @USUFootball.#BYUFOOTBALL #BYUVSUSU pic.twitter.com/BWFgxd4NuC— BYUtv Sports (@byutvsports) October 6, 2018