Published On: Wed, Dec 23rd, 2020

BYU makes their first win in the Sunshine State– the Cougars are the new Boca Raton Bowl Champions 2020

A win that was fought for from start to end, Brigham Young has finally put their Florida victory scarcity to rest as they have beat The University of Central Florida 49-23 and are now the reigning Boca Bowl champions. 

The Cougars offensive abilities were no secret as the team scored three times in the first quarter, two times in the second, and two more times in the third. 

Within the first two minutes of the game, BYU made their first touchdown and just minutes later, tight end Isaac Rex assisted in giving the team another. Rex completed the game with two touchdowns and led his team in receiving yards with 96.

Brigham Young’s offense played skillfully as quarterback Zach Wilson executed each play carefully making sure his wide receivers, running backs, and tight ends were left open for a clean pass and a successful play. Wilson had a total of 425 passing yards throughout the course of the game.

Quarter back Zach Wilson

“Amazing offense, I think it’s just going to keep growing from here. It’s been an exciting year, 2020, tons of ups and downs,” quarterback Zach Wilson said. “Great way to finish this year, this offense is just going to continue improving into next year and the year after that.”

BYU’s offense worked to their advantage as the overall score reflected but, the defense also utilized their strengths and made it tough for the UCF offense to make it through their territory.

“I’m really proud of the defense,” BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said.

Keeping the lead the entire game, the Cougars upheld their momentum forcing troubling decisions onto the Knights.

“We noticed on film that they struggle a lot with crossing routes, meshing stuff underneath so we had a lot of success with it,” Wilson said. “It was part of our game plan going in and they struggled with it down the stretch. The goal was to get it out to those play makers and let them make plays.”

UCF quarterback Dillon Gabriel searched the field for open passes but the pressure from the Cougar defense applied force to their offensive line making it difficult for the Knights to secure a play. 

“We’re extremely disappointed with the way that we played, really in every phase of the football game,” UCF head coach Josh Heupel said. 

In the second half, Gabriel grew desperate for a victorious finish which led to a lot of incomplete plays and passes to his teammates. 

Knights’ running back Craig McCrae was the first to make a touchdown in the second half quenching the team’s drought. 

Both teams were competitive on the offensive side but the difference between the two teams was their defense. 

BYU’s key defensive players, linebackers Kennan Pili had the most tackles for BYU with a total of nine and Max Tooley leading his team in solos with five. The Cougars finished the game with 81 total team tackles and 39 solos.

“It didn’t matter what the score was, we wanted our guys to keep playing and get some valuable reps,” coach Sitake said.

UCF’s defese struggled to keep solid, letting players like Wilson, Rex, Neil Pau’u, and Gunner Romney run right through and into the endzone.

“We were disappointed in the first quarter, obviously we did not start fast in any phase of the game,” coach Heupel said.

BYU’s running back duo of Lopini Katoa, and Tyler Allgeier worked together with Wilson on the field, making sure they were always in sync. Katoa had a total of 90 receiving yards and 111 all-purpose yards.

Allgeier led in all-purpose yards with 233, in which 173 of those came from the ground game. They knew where they had to be in order to be in position to receive the pass from their quarterback. 

“We had a great game plan, I felt like we were destructive as a team,” Sitake said.

During the fourth quarter, despite the fact that the Knights treaded behind BYU, they still remained eager to fight for the title that was still up for grabs. 

UCF wide receivers Jacob Harris and Jaylon Robinson hustled to be of use to their team. Harris led his team in receiving yards with 67 and had a terrific 21-yard touchdown, while Robinson had the third highest receiving yards, racking up 44 yard and a touchdown in the fourth quarter. 

Both teams had one goal– to win– and BYU came to Boca Raton, to do just that. 

“The love that we have for each other, the excitement that we had to play this game, just looking around and soaking it all in was the coolest part,” Wilson said.

About the Author

- Brianna is a senior Multimedia Journalism major at Florida Atlantic University where she is also a Staff Writer for the University Press. She is working hard to learn and grow as a journalist, here at the Boca Raton Tribune--as Sports Editor-- with a goal of becoming a Sports Reporter for ESPN.

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