BOCA RATON, Fla. — In his three years wearing a BYU uniform, Zach Wilson has made plenty of memories.
From the first win in his first career start as a freshman to struggling through a pair of injuries as a sophomore to the rollicking rolling he’s put on teams as a junior, the Corner Canyon product has done just about everything for the Cougars.
In what may be his final game, he saved his best performance. Wilson’s early entry into the NFL draft isn’t assured yet — but after Tuesday night, no one will blame him if (or when) he does.
Wilson threw for 425 yards and three touchdowns, and added two rushing scores as No. 16 BYU jumped out to a 21-0 lead and never looked back en route to a 49-23 win over UCF in the Boca Raton Bowl at FAU Stadium.
Most receiving TDs among TEs this season:
1. Kyle Pitts – 12
1. Isaac Rex – 12 pic.twitter.com/1Jk6fvEdw6
— PFF College (@PFF_College) December 23, 2020
After eight previous tries of futility, the Cougars (11-1) finally won a game in Florida, in their first one-loss season with a double-digit win total since 1996.
Tyler Allgeier added 173 yards and a touchdown on the ground, and Isaac Rex caught five passes for 96 yards and two touchdowns to aid Wilson’s effort. Ditto for the BYU defense, which allowed just 85 yards in the first quarter, led by Zac Dawe’s bone-crushing sack on fourth down.
But make no mistake; those teammates were auxiliary to Wilson’s overall performance.
The Corner Canyon product spliced the Knights’ secondary like a well-known surgeon, completing 23 of 30 passes opposite UCF sophomore Dillon Gabriel, who didn’t throw a touchdown until five seconds remained in the third quarter.
Gabriel, the son of former Hawaii quarterback Garrett Gabriel, completed 21 of 45 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns.
By the time Gabriel found the end zone with his arm, the Knights (6-4) trailed 49-17 and BYU was beginning to pull its starters.
Greg McCrae added 77 yards and a touchdown on the ground for UCF.
This story will be updated.