It was a game to remember for Cougar fans!

On national television and in primetime, BYU (1-0) put on an absolute show on both sides of the ball for a 55-3 victory. The dominating performance caught the eyes of the nation, as Navy was coming off one of its best years in school history with a Top 20 ranking and a school record for wins (11) in a season.

Following BYU’s blowout win over the Midshipmen in what was the season opener for both teams, Kirk Herbstreit joined Scott Van Pelt on SportsCenter to break down the game.

Scott Van Pelt: “That was a stunner. I did not see that one coming. BYU just blew them (Navy) out.”

Kirk Herbstreit: “This is a good football team. I know we’re kind of looking at the score (blowout) but – I don’t how much of the game you saw – but they are a good team.”

Scott Van Pelt: “They (BYU) came right out of the gates throwing it and running it. You don’t see Navy lose like that. They don’t get their butts dominated like that. To their (BYU’s) credit, BYU had to go out and scramble and figure out how to put a schedule together and they’ve done that. Everybody is just going to do the best that they can and hope that they can stay healthy. We are going to enjoy the heck out of watching whatever it is that we get to see.”

Kirk Herbstreit: “If we can continue to play ball, I think there may be some teams like BYU, which is a good football team, to be sitting there undefeated at the end of the year wondering if they should throw their hat into the ring for the College Football Playoff — if we have one.”

While fans will certainly enjoy the playoff talk by national pundits, the Cougars will need to take things one game at a time. After big wins over the years, including last year’s victories over USC and Tennessee, the Cougars followed it up with losses to Toledo and USF.

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A home game at Navy usually involves a lot of pageantry, including the much-anticipated flyover during each home game. However, with fans not allowed to attend the game, the atmosphere was the complete opposite of what a typical college football game has with tailgates, sellout crowd, etc.

As Herbstreit noted at the end of the game, with so many things in flux, as well as the new and unique things (no fans or limited capacity at games) in college football this year, how teams handle these challenges goes a long way to determining the success of a team. With BYU’s veteran leadership, Herbstreit came away awfully impressed with BYU’s performance Monday night.

Last year’s big season wasn’t just a fluke for Navy either, as the program has been been ranked at least once in four of the last five years (2015, 2016, 2017, 2019).

Kirk Herbstreit: “BYU, to their credit, is a mature team and veteran team. They reminded me almost of an NFL team with the way they came in. They weren’t worried about the stadium, it was just put the ball down and let’s play. I think the teams that are going to have success this year are going to be those teams. They’re not worried about the crowd, they’re not worried that it’s different. They just prepare and want to go out and play and tonight, BYU demonstrated that.”

Fun Facts

  • BYU’s 55 points are the second-most in a season opener in program history behind 70 against Tulane in 2001.
  • The 52-point victory ties the program record for largest margin in a season opener with a 52-0 win over Utah State in 1986.
  • BYU’s 52-point victory is the largest since a 70-6 win over Wagner in 2015 and the largest over an FBS foe since a 52-0 win over Wyoming in 2009.
  • Kalani Sitake improved to 4-1 in season openers.
  • With the win, BYU now leads the overall series against Navy at 2-1. The Cougars have also won 16 of their last 21 season openers.
  • For Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo, Monday’s loss was the first season-opening home loss in his career. Niumatalolo came into the contest with a perfect 5-0 record. Over the last five years, Navy is 25-4 (.862) at home… including 6-0 in 2019. The 52-point loss is the biggest in Niumatalolo’s coaching career.
  • Lopini Katoa scored three total touchdowns, all in the first half. He’s the 11th player to score three TDs in a first half at BYU and the first since Jamaal Williams against Idaho State in 2013.
  • Navy’s 149 yards of total offense are the fewest for the Midshipmen since gaining 144 against San Jose State in 2012.
  • BYU’s 31-0 halftime lead was the largest in a season opener since leading Kansas State 32-0 in 1977.

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