BYU has received a lot of attention since taking down then-No. 24 USC, 30-27, in overtime at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
The Cougars were trending on social media and were the top story on SportsCenter Saturday after pulling out another overtime victory in back-to-back weeks.
The Cardiac Cougars took down the Trojans and its high-scoring offense — which put up 45 points against Stanford the week before — as they limited USC to just 27 points. BYU’s bend-but-don’t-break defense rose to the occasion as the defense picked off USC QB Kedon Slovis three times, including the game-winning interception in overtime as fans rushed the field.
Slovis came into Saturday’s game having come off one of the best starts ever by a USC quarterback as the freshman completed 28 of 33 passes for 377 yards and three touchdowns.
Yet, it was BYU quarterback Zach Wilson who stole the show on Saturday as the sophomore threw for 280 yards and a touchdown, to go with another touchdown on the ground to lead the Cougars to victory.
All throughout Saturday night and into Sunday, networks were showing clips of the game as the Cougars knocked off the Trojans. ESPN analysts Jesse Palmer and Joey Galloway also had some praise for the Cougars too, who took down a ranked Pac-12 opponent for the first time since 2009. The comments ranged from BYU winning another overtime game to Zach Wilson looking like Johnny Manziel as well as joking about Kalani Sitake’s dance moves.
— Fan Insider (@FanInsider_) September 15, 2019
It was the second straight win against a team from a power conference, and most importantly, it came on the Cougars’ home field. After struggling at home in recent years, BYU Head Coach Kalani Sitake was all smiles afterwards as the coaches, players and fans all sang the fight song together on the field at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
The victory was also the first win over USC in football program history. Last week’s win over Tennessee was also the programs first win over the Vols in what was the first game of a two-game series between both storied programs.
Now the Cougars will turn their attention to No. 22 Washington as the Huskies come to Provo looking to avoid another another conference upset for the Pac-12. BYU will be ready to play and looks to avenge last year’s blowout loss to the Huskies.
Zach Wilson = Johnny Manziel?
Because of his mobility and never wanting to give up on a play, Zach Wilson has ran in circles against defenses, avoided sacks before leaping over a defender for a big run or throwing a dart down the field for a big gain like he did against USC Saturday afternoon late in the fourth quarter.
During his weekly press conference leading up to the BYU game, Tennesee head coach Jeremy Pruitt told reporters that Zach Wilson reminded him of Johnny Manziel saying, “On their offensive side, to me, it starts with their (BYU) quarterback, a guy that kind of reminds me of Johnny Manziel. He can run around and extend plays and make all of the throws.”
— Fan Insider (@FanInsider_) September 17, 2019
On Saturday, ESPN’s crew noted several times how Wilson reminded them of “Johnny Football” as well, with his ability to extend plays and thrive under pressure situations. They even compared Wilson’s measurables to Manziel, noting that Wilson is several inches taller and weighs a bit more too at 6-foot-3 and 205-pounds.
“He has a little bit of Johnny Manziel in him,” said ESPN analyst Greg McElroy. “He has great vision, does a great job at feeling the pressure and can extend plays with his arm and his legs.” … “It’s high praise to be compared to a Heisman Trophy winner.”
After the win, CBS sports writer Ben Kercheval had this to say about Wilson:
“BYU QB Zach Wilson is must-see TV: If you haven’t seen the so-called “Mormon Manziel,” do yourself a favor and check out Wilson’s next game against No. 22 Washington in Week 4. Wilson came up huge again in BYU’s 30-27 overtime win over No. 24 USC, making a big-time throw and then scoring a go-ahead touchdown with his legs in regulation. His pocket presence and ability to extend plays with his feet make him truly one of the most entertaining players in college football at the moment.”
BYU fans may not like the comparison, but at the end of the day, a win is a win! After nearly a flawless game against USC, Wilson is going to have to play lights out again as the Cougars look to knock of No. 22 Washington in another nationally televised game at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. MDT.