BYU QB Zach Wilson is officially off the NFL after three years, and he sure gave us some memorable performances. From Power 5 upsets to jaw-dropping throws, Zach will go down among the all-time great QBs in BYU history.
Zach Wilson started 28 games during his three seasons, but I did my best to rank the top 10.
#10 — 10/13/2018 vs Hawaii
Stats: 16/24, 194, yards, 3 passing TDs, 1 Interception, 1 Rushing TD
At 19 years and 2 months, Zach became the youngest starting quarterback in BYU history when he took the field for his first career start versus Hawaii. Coaches were largely conservative with Wilson, but he put up 4 TDs and showed his playmaking ability early on. On a 3rd and 15, Wilson’s first TD of the game was this 23-yard run.
BYU ended up winning the game 49-23.
#9 — 11/24/2018 at Utah
Stats: 20/29, 209 Passing Yards, 2 TDs, 1 Interception, 73 Rushing Yards
BYU lost a heartbreaking 35-27 game to Utah, but Zach showed in this one that he was on his way to be BYU’s next great quarterback. Zach led BYU to a 20-0 halftime lead and 27-7 lead in the third quarter before BYU ultimately crumbled late. However, Zach’s 2 TD throws in the first half, particularly a 26-yard dart to Matt Bushman in the face of pressure, and command of BYU’s offense showed his moxie in a big time game.
#8 — 9/26/2020 vs Troy
Stats: 23/27, 392 Passing Yards, 2 TDs, 0 Interceptions, 2 Rushing TDs
After a fairly quiet performance versus Navy in the season opener, Wilson exploded for a new career high in passing yards in BYU’s next game. Zach showed pinpoint accuracy, particularly on deep balls, that went on to define his junior year. It set the stage for a October and November where Zach would go on a tear and rocket up NFL draft boards. BYU won the game 48-7.
BYU impresses once again with a 48-7 win over Troy.— WestCoastCFB (@WestCoastCFB) September 27, 2020
- The Cougars outgained Troy 664 yards to 181
- Zach Wilson 21/25 for 352 yards & 2 TDs
- Gunner Romney 5 catches for 138 yards
Can BYU go undefeated?
#7 — 10/2/2020 vs Louisiana Tech
Stats: 24/26, 325 Passing Yards, 2 Passing TDs, 0 Interceptions, 43 Rushing Yards, 3 Rushing TDs
Zach followed up the Troy performance with an equally impressive performance 6 days later. The 92.3% completion percentage was the second best of his career and the 5 total TDs set a new career high. It was after this performance that the NFL chatter really started picking up for Zach — ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr named Zach as a top 5 QB in the 2021 draft class, and the hype only went up from there.
#6 — 9/7/2019 at Tennessee
Stats: 19/29, 232 Passing Yards, 1 Passing TD, 0 Interceptions
This wasn’t Zach’s best game stat wise, but he led BYU to a dramatic 2 OT win in a hostile environment. His improbable throw to Micah Simon at the end of the fourth quarter set up the kick that sent the game into OT.
"Wilson throws it deep—OH MY GOODNESS! Receiver wide open, caught in Tennessee territory!"— BYUtv Sports (@byutvsports) December 11, 2020
Where does @micahsimon_'s game-changing 64-yard reception rank in BYU Football: Top 100 Plays?
Tune in tomorrow at 4ET on BYUtv to find out. pic.twitter.com/im6gII9zOE
Tennessee went on to win their last 6 games and finished the season 8-5.
#5 — 9/14/2019 vs USC
Stats: 20/33, 280 Passing Yards, 1 Passing TD, 0 Interceptions, 1 Rushing TD
One week after the dramatic win over Tennessee, BYU one-upped itself with an OT win over #24 USC. A late fourth-quarter drive showed off Wilson’s play-making ability with a deep strike to Gunner Romney and rushing TD to cap off the drive.
Zach Wilson is wild, y'all. BYU took the lead on a Wilson TD run two plays later.— Yahoo Sports College Football (@YahooSportsCFB) September 14, 2019
Cougars lead USC 27-24 with 5:41 to play. pic.twitter.com/WGtmwUOgqE
Wilson’s escapability in the pocket caused some national pundits to dub him the “Mormon Manziel”, a name that died off in 2020 after Zach showed that he was a much better NFL prospect than the former Texas A&M QB.
#4 — 12/21/2019 vs Western Michigan
Stats: 18/18, 317 Passing Yards, 4 TDs, 0 Interceptions
Zach went out in style in his freshman season by setting a NCAA record with the most passes without an incompletion in a bowl game. Zach was on point all night and showed off his accuracy that has him as of the top NFL prospects in the 2021 draft. BYU won the game 49-18 and Zach went into the offseason with a ton of hype which was tempered by offseason shoulder surgery shortly after the game.
#3 — 10/16/2020 at Houston
Stats: 25/35, 400 Passing Yards, 4 Passing Touchdowns, 0 Interceptions, 40 Rushing Yards
After rolling over cream puffs, all eyes were on BYU and Zach Wilson on a Friday night, ESPN match at Houston. Zach’s first pass of the game was a 78-yard TD strike to Dax Milne, and Zach put BYU on his back late with 3 TD passes to end the game on a 28-0 run in the 43-26 win. The TD throw to Dax Milne with under 4 minutes left on 3rd and 15 was a thing of beauty and sealed the win for BYU.
Zach Wilson est, sans aucun doute, l’un des meilleurs QBs du pays en 2020. Regardez-moi cette magnifique passe vers Dax Milne. Woah.— #MidMajors (@MidnightCampus) October 17, 2020
25/35, 400 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INT face à Houston.
Outsider au Heisman Trophy ? Oui. pic.twitter.com/Rrql6beetQ
#2 — 11/6/2020 at Boise State
Stats: 22/28, 360 Passing Yards, 3 Passing TDs, 0 Interceptions, 1 Rushing TD
Coming into this game, some had dubbed it as the biggest BYU game since the 1984 Holiday Bowl versus Michigan that won BYU the national title. The Broncos were ranked #21 and BYU was going for its first ever win versus Boise State on the blue turf. To up the stakes, Wilson was committed to Boise State his senior season in high school before he flipped and signed with BYU.
Wilson dominated and led BYU to a 45-3 lead that included more jaw-dropping throws.
ZACH WILSON & BYU KEEP ON ROLLING— Taste Of Sport (@TasteOfSport) November 7, 2020
▫️Wilson: 359yds, 3 Total TD
▫️BYU 51-17 Boise State
BYU improve to 7-0, but questions remain: are they a threat in the playoffs, and is Wilson a 1st rnd guy? #CFB #BYUvsBSU #ZachWilson #BYUFOOTBALL pic.twitter.com/diYyRa0mHX
Wilson has often been at his best when the stakes are the highest, and he showed off to the country in a stand-alone Friday night game on FS1.
#1 — 12/22/2020 vs UCF
Stats: 26/34, 425 Passing Yards, 3 Passing TDs, 2 Rushing TDs, 1 Reception, 16 Receiving Yards
Zach had some remarkable performances, but his finale in the Boca Raton Bowl solidified himself as a top draft pick and put the cherry on a remarkable season. Wilson was sensational in the first half, throwing for 330 yards and and getting all 5 of his TDs to lead BYU to 35-10 halftime lead. Had BYU’s defense not been so stingy there is a good chance he could have beat BYU’s single passing game record of 619 passing yards.
Zach showed all the attributes that make him special — arm strength, throwing off platform, accuracy at every level of the field, and mobility in and outside the pocket. His final TD pass to Neil Pau’u was absolute dime down the field.
Zach Wilson on an absolute rope to Neil Pau’u. pic.twitter.com/yuZLUx6Opz— The Blue Brethren (@BlueBrethren) December 23, 2020
In an era when players opt of bowl games and even entire seasons, Zach showed his team-first attitude and put on a magnificent performance to cap off his Cougar career.