Albertsons Stadium Boise ID 83725
BYU tops Western Michigan 49-18 in Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
BOISE, Idaho – Freshman quarterback Zach Wilson was a perfect 18 of 18 for 317 yards and four touchdowns and led BYU to a 49-18 win over Western Michigan Friday afternoon in the 2018 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
Wilson set the BYU single-game record with his 18 consecutive completions and earned MVP honors. Senior linebacker Sione Takitaki led the defensive effort with his own career-best 19 total tackles.
Senior Dylan Collie led all receivers with 124 yards and two touchdowns on six receptions. Riley Burt totaled the most yards on the ground with a career-best 110 and one touchdown.
BYU exploded for 42 second-half points, the most in any half this year. The Cougar defense held WMU scoreless in the third quarter while the offense posted 28 points in the third after coming out of halftime down 10-7. BYU scored 35 unanswered points en route to the victory.
The Cougars posted 490 yards of total offense and held Western Michigan to just 313 for the game. The Broncos entered the game No. 30 in total offense at 447.2 yards per game.
First Quarter Review
BYU found the end zone first as Wilson threw a 26-yard pass to Collie for the first touchdown of the game. After a shanked punt from Western Michigan that only went nine yards, the Cougars were set up on Bronco’s 27-yard line. On second down, Wilson connected with Collie putting BYU up 7-0 with 2:20 left in the first quarter.
- Takitaki topped 100 total tackles on the season, including five on the first drive alone
- Dylan Collie caught his longest reception at BYU with a 26-yard touchdown
Second Quarter Review
With just over three minutes until halftime, Western Michigan’s Jamauri Bogan ran the ball 33 yards into the end zone. After the Bronco’s called a timeout, Bogan weaved through BYU players capping off his run with a touchdown making the score 7-7. With only 24 seconds left in the second quarter, Western Michigan tacked on a field goal taking its first lead of the game at 10-7 going into halftime.
Third Quarter Review
The Cougars came out at halftime quickly taking the momentum, scoring unanswered touchdowns on all four of their drives in the quarter. BYU got in the end zone to open up the half on only three plays. A 48-yard pass to Neil Pau’u gave the Cougars momentum, as Wilson again found Collie as he grabbed his second touchdown pass of the game, an 8-yard reception to make the score 14-10 with 13:14 left on the clock.
On the next BYU drive, Burt got into the end zone on a 37-yard sprint to the end zone. After a 20-yard reception by Dallin Holker, Burt split two Bronco defenders running down the field to get into the end zone and make the score 21-10.
It only took one play to score another touchdown as Aleva Hifo caught a 70-yard bomb down the sideline with one hand to put the Cougars ahead 28-10. After the touchdown, Austin Lee intercepted the ball and returned it 26 yards to the Bronco 32-yard line. On a trick play with Austin Kafentzis under center, the ball was pitched to Dayan Ghanwoloku lined up at tailback who went over center for a one-yard touchdown, putting the score at 35-10 with 2:47 left in the third quarter.
- Khyiris Tonga recorded his fourth tackle for loss of the season and eighth of his career
- Wilson and Hifo both tallied career-highs (passing and receiving) on a 70-yard touchdown pass
- Austin Lee recorded his second interception of the season
- Ghanwoloku scored his first touchdown on offense with a one-yard rush
Fourth Quarter Review
BYU continued scoring on consecutive drives into the fourth quarter as Wilson found Dax Milne for his first career touchdown. Collie caught a 31-yard strike from Wilson to set up the Cougars on the 7-yard line. Two plays later, Wilson found Milne in the end zone on a 5-yard pass to increase BYU’s led to 42-10.
Western Michigan scored their second touchdown of the game after giving up 35-unanswered points to the Cougars as Bronco quarterback Kaleb Eleby pushed over center putting six points on the board. After a successful two-point conversion, the score stood at 42-18 with 7:37 left on the clock.
The Cougars tacked on another touchdown as senior quarterback Tanner Mangum found Collie for a 41-yard pass before Brayden El-Bakri ran the ball in for one yard, making the score 49-18. BYU ran out the clock taking the win and finishing the 2018 season 7-6.
- Takitaki finished the game with 19 total tackles tying three other BYU players for No. 4 in school history in total tackles in a game
- Burt finished the game with over 100 yards, the first of his career
- Collie, who caught a season-long pass of 26 yards in the first quarter, reset that superlative twice in the fourth quarter with 31- and 41-yard receptions.
BYU to face Western Michigan in Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
PROVO, Utah (Dec. 2, 2018) — BYU has accepted an invitation to play in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl against Western Michigan on Friday, Dec. 21 at Albertsons Stadium in Boise, Idaho. The game kicks off at 2 p.m. MST and will be televised nationally on ESPN.
"We are excited to have been selected to play in a bowl game and for the opportunity to face a good Western Michigan team in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl," BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said. "Western Michigan is well-coached team, and we are looking forward to the challenge of preparing for the game and making a return trip to Boise.”
BYU will be making its first appearance in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, but the Cougars have already made one trip to Boise this season, falling to nationally ranked Boise State 21-16 on the blue turf. The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl has been played since 1997 and was formerly known as the Humanitarian Bowl. Last year, Wyoming defeated Central Michigan in the Potato Bowl.
BYU is making the program’s 36th bowl appearance dating back to its first bowl game at the 1974 Fiesta Bowl. The Cougars have played in 18 different bowls in 11 different states.
Returning to bowl competition after a one-year hiatus, the Cougars have qualified for a bowl game in 13 of the last 14 seasons. In BYU’s last appearance, the Cougars defeated Wyoming 24-21 in the 2016 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego to complete a 9-4 season. With that victory, Coach Sitake is 1-0 in bowl games while BYU’s bowl record improved overall to 14-20-1.
BYU has played the Western Michigan Broncos out of Kalamazoo, Michigan, five times previously, with all five games coming between 1962 and 1970. The Cougars lead the overall series 3-2, with a perfect 2-0 record in Provo. The two teams have never met on a neutral field.
Western Michigan finished the 2018 season at 7-5 and second in the Mid-American Conference West Division. The Broncos capped their regular season off with a 28-21 win over the MAC champions, Northern Illinois, a team the Cougars fell to 7-6 earlier this year.
Western Michigan won the MAC title in 2016 and earned a bid to the Cotton Bowl with a perfect 13-0 record. The Broncos came up short to the Wisconsin Badgers 24-16 but finished at No. 15 in the final AP Poll and No. 17 in the Coaches Poll.
The Broncos began playing football in 1906 and have played in eight previous bowl games and won four conference titles. They have been members of the MAC since 1948. Western Michigan has one consensus All-American in its history and has an overall record of 562-446-24.
BYU finished the regular season 6-6 with a core of young, up-and-coming players teaming with key upperclassmen to navigate a difficult schedule featuring nine opponents that earned regular-season winning records. The Cougars played 26 freshmen throughout the year, including 17 true freshmen. Fourteen different freshmen started at least one game for a combined 69 starts during the season, including starts at quarterback, running back, offensive line, tight end, wide receiver, defensive line, defensive back and kicker.
The Cougars jumpstarted the season with a road win at Arizona while an upset of No. 6 Wisconsin in Madison two weeks later propelled the Cougars to back-to-back weeks in the top-25 rankings. Showing promise while striving for more consistency, BYU suffered close setbacks to MAC champion Northern Illinois, MW Mountain Division champion Boise State and Pac-12 South Division champion Utah in the second half of the season to split its final six matchups.
Led by senior linebacker Sione Takitaki, the Cougar defense proved to be a strong unit in 2018, ranking No. 19 nationally in total defense (325.0) by season’s end. The BYU offense employed the playmaking abilities of true freshman quarterback Zach Wilson as the starter the second half of the season and despite key injuries at running back produced a strong run game that averaged 230.3 rushing yards in the final three contests.
Tickets are on sale at BYUtickets.com or by calling 801-422-2981. As all tickets purchased through BYU directly benefit the athletic department, BYU is encouraging Cougar Nation to purchase tickets through BYUtickets.com and the BYU Ticket Office.
Great seats are available in the BYU fan sections. Tickets will be priced from $15 for group end zone to $60 for sideline under the cover. Orders placed by December 4th will be assigned in the priority seating process. Seats ordered before December 4th will be assigned by Cougar Club level, priority points within the membership level if applicable, and then by date of purchase. After December 4th, seats will be assigned as you purchase.
Sideline seats under cover, rows M through V are $60, while the remaining sideline seats are $50 with tickets for groups of 10 or more available for $45 and pricing for groups of 20 or more $40. Corner seats are $30 and $25 for groups of 10 and $20 for groups of 20 or more. End zone tickets are $20 and $15 for groups of 10 or more.