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National Pundits React to BYU after Week 5 in College Football

National media folks are taking notice of BYU.

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NCAA Football: Boise State at Brigham Young Gabe Mayberry-USA TODAY Sports

National media and pundits are taking notice of BYU and Zach Wilson after the Cougars blowout win over Louisiana Tech to move to 3-0 on the season.

Below are excerpts from National media members’ reactions after week 5 of the college football season.

Pete Thamel of Yahoo Sports said Zach Wilson’s near perfect game launched him “just a hair below the sport’s elite quarterbacks.” An excerpt from Thamel:

BYU passing game coordinator and quarterback coach Aaron Roderick said this season has been the culmination of coach Kalani Sitake and the BYU staff deciding to go all-in with a crew of young players two years ago. They’re now seeing them grown up. That includes Wilson, who endured injuries and inconsistencies amid BYU’s hectic 7-6 2019 season that saw wins over Tennessee and USC and losses to Toledo and USF.

“Most of our starters are in their third year in this system and the execution around Zach is helping him a ton,” he said.

Now that Wilson and No. 22 BYU have announced themselves, one of the most fun stories to follow this season will be how far he can soar.

“As a coach, it’s a challenge to stay one step ahead of him with film study and game-planning,” Roderick said. “He works as hard as anyone I’ve ever seen to study the game.

Going forward, there will be plenty of eyes studying Wilson’s game.

Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated ranked BYU at #7 and spoke of Zach Wilson’s “early Heisman resume.” From Forde:

The Cougars recorded their third straight dominant victory, following blowouts of Navy and Troy with a beatdown of previously undefeated Louisiana Tech. Quarterback Zach Wilson keeps adding to his early Heisman Trophy resume, completing 24 of 26 passes for 325 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 43 yards and three more scores. Wilson is completing 84.5 percent of his passes through three games, which is a pretty outrageous number. But give some credit as well to the BYU defense, which thus far is allowing just 2.4 yards per rush and eight points per game.

Bruce Feldman of The Athletic praised Jeff Grimes’ offense through 3 games. From Feldman:

I realize the Cougars’ slate hasn’t been daunting, especially with Navy off to a shaky start because of the unusual circumstances this offseason amid the pandemic, but credit to BYU. This team has been dominant and was especially so Friday in thumping what was a 2-0 Louisiana Tech team. Jeff Grimes’ offense has been very potent with QB Zach Wilson healthier than he was last year and playing superbly. Through three games Wilson has 11 incompletions to match the number of total TDs he’s accounted for (six passing and five rushing).

Bill Connelly of ESPN and creator S&P+ predicts BYU as one of four participants in the college football playoff and ranked BYU 16 in his S&P+ rankings.

Kirk Herbstreit ranked BYU has his #6 team of teams that have played.

Stewart Mandel of The Athletic argued that “no other team had a better week than BYU.” From Mandel:

I’d argue no team had a better week than BYU. Even before Zach Wilson and the Cougars notched their third consecutive dominant win, 45-14 against Louisiana Tech on Friday, they got huge news when the Mountain West created a schedule to allow Boise State (Nov. 7) and San Diego State (Dec. 12) to play nonconference games against the Cougars.

BYU now has 10 games. Eight of them are against mostly lightweight opponents that won’t garner the Cougars much respect. But go 10-0 with wins against the Broncos and Aztecs, and I could see them reaching the committee’s top 10 — high enough to land a New Year’s Six bowl. Which would be quite the feat given AD Tom Holmoe had to rebuild their schedule nearly from scratch.

Joel Klatt of Fox Sports put BYU just outside of his top 10.