3 takeaways: No. 25 BYU beats South Florida 50-21 in season opener

The start of the BYU 2022 season may have been delayed — the team’s South Florida opener was two and a half hours later than expected due to lightning in the region — but the Cougars didn’t let that bother them.

Here are three takeaways from Saturday’s 50-21 win:

Quick start sparks Cougars offense

In the first half, Brigham Young had a solid offensive run, scoring five of his first six possessions, including four touchdowns.

That set the tone for the game, as junior quarterback Jalen Hall looked like a seasoned offensive leader — he completed 25 of 32 passes for 261 yards and two touchdowns and an interception.

BYU’s offense did stir on the ground as the Cougars advanced for 314 yards – Chris Brooks (135, one touchdown), Lopinikatoya (55) and Pukanacua (76) lead.

Even with Gunners Romney missing the game and Naqua leaving with an injury in the first quarter, the Cougars were still able to get the ball out in the passing game as 12 different players caught the pass.

BYU finished for 575 yards total, including 337 in the first half.

Defense excels at first, then softens at second

While BYU’s offense was busy making touchdowns to start the game, Cougar’s defense stopped South Florida’s offense in the first half.

BYU held the Bulls out of Cougar territory for the first six games, when BYU was up 38-0. Of those six drives, three were threes and one out, linebacker Max Tooley turned the interception into a 33-yard pick and another was six.

The Cougars gave up just 89 yards total late in the first half before passing for 50 yards in Game 3, leading to South Florida’s first score before the break.

The Cougars defense and specials gave up more important plays in the second half, including a kickoff return to start Game 3, and South Florida got some progress as the game went on.

Despite a poor second half, the Bulls never got anywhere near 24 points in the second half. The Cougars also allowed South Florida to convert just 3 of 12 third hits.

What happened to the BYU wide receiver?

For BYU, the big question coming out of the win is what the future holds for Cougar’s broad receiving group.

Health questions revolve around their top two wide receivers — Nacua and Romney — so we’re curious to see what happens in the next two weeks in groups with ranked rivals Baylor and Oregon.

Cody Epps, Chase Roberts and Brayden Cosper — two in the back row — all received the ball, while Keanu Hill scored a touchdown, giving the Cougars a look at anything but Who else can Nacua and Romney play.

Tight ends Dallin Holker and Isaac Rex also played some games, so it’s optimistic the Cougars can thrive with openings, at least for now.

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