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Three points: No. 25 BYU beats South Florida 50-21 in season opener

BYU’s 2022 season may have started late — the team’s opener in South Florida kicked off two and a half hours later than expected due to lightning strikes in the area — but the Cougars are minding it. I didn’t do it.

Here are the three points taken from Saturday’s 50-21 victory.

A fast start stimulates a cougar attack

BYU went offensively in the first half, scoring on 5 of their first 6 possessions, including 4 touchdowns.

That set the tone for the game as junior quarterback Jalen Hall looked like a seasoned offensive leader. He completed his 25 of his 32 passes for 261 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception.

The BYU offense really hit hard as the Cougars put up 314 rushing yards — led by Chris Brooks (135 yards, 1 touchdown), Ropini Katoa (55) and Puka Naqua (76).

Despite Gunner Romney being out of the game and Naqua being sidelined in the first quarter with an injury, the Cougars were able to spread the ball out in the passing game as 12 different players caught the pass.

BYU finished with 575 total yards of offense, including 337 in the first half.

Defense performs big first, softens second

While the BYU offense was busy setting up touchdowns to kick off the game, the Cougars’ defense was shutting down South Florida’s offense in the first half.

BYU prevented the Bulls from entering Cougars territory on their first six drives, and by that time, BYU was already 38-0. Of those six drives, three were three-and-outs, and linebacker Max Tooley turned an interception into a 33-yard pick six.

The Cougars had given up 89 total yards of offense at the end of the first half before a 50-yard pass on a third-down play just before halftime led to South Florida’s first score.

The Cougars’ defense and special teams gave up even bigger plays in the second half, including starting third on kickoff returns.

Despite a struggling second half, the Bulls were never closer than 24 points in the second half. The Cougars also managed to convert South Florida only 3 of 12 third downs.

What’s happening with the BYU wide receiver?

The big question for the victorious BYU is what the future holds for the Cougar Wide Receive Group.

Health questions surround top two wide receivers Nacua and Romney, making one wonder what happens in a group with ranked opponents Baylor and Oregon on the schedule for the next two weeks. is a matter of course.

Cody Epps, Chase Roberts and Braden Cosper had two receptions, with Keanu Hill catching a touchdown to show the Cougars who was available beyond Naqua and Romney.

Tight ends Darrin Holker and Isaac Rex have also made some plays, so there’s some optimism that the Cougars can thrive with who’s available, at least for now.

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