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BYU, QB Zach Wilson end 2020 with an exclamation mark in Boca Raton Bowl blowout of UCF

Nick Bromberg
·4-min read

Did Zach Wilson end his BYU career with a five-TD game?

The Cougars’ star QB threw for three touchdowns and rushed for two in No. 16 BYU’s 49-17 Boca Raton Bowl win over UCF (6-4) on Tuesday night. All five of those scores came in the first half as BYU (11-1) jumped out to a big lead over the Knights and made the game feel like a blowout from the start.

Wilson had a 15-yard TD run as BYU went 87 yards in five plays to open the game. He threw a TD on the Cougars’ next drive and added a second rushing touchdown with 25 seconds left in the first quarter.

BYU didn’t need much time on its drives to cut through UCF. All three of those first-quarter TD drives took less than two minutes, and all five of the TD drives took three minutes or less.

Wilson finished the game 26 of 34 for 425 yards and no interceptions. Oh, he also caught a 16-yard pass.

BYU quarterback Zach Wilson looks on prior to the Boca Raton Bowl against Central Florida at FAU Stadium on Dec. 22, 2020. (Mark Brown/Getty Images)
BYU quarterback Zach Wilson looks on prior to the Boca Raton Bowl against Central Florida at FAU Stadium on Dec. 22, 2020. (Mark Brown/Getty Images)

Where will Zach Wilson get picked in the NFL draft?

Wilson, who is eligible to declare for the 2021 NFL draft, finishes the 2020 season with a completion percentage over 70 percent, over 3,700 yards passing and 33 TD passes to just three interceptions. If he declares, he’ll end his BYU career with over 7,500 yards passing in three seasons, 56 TD passes and 15 interceptions.

He’ll also be one of the first QBs off the board if and when he does declare for the draft. As Trevor Lawrence is a surefire bet to go No. 1 in the draft, Wilson could be the second QB taken.

Yahoo Sports NFL draft analyst Eric Edholm has been high on Wilson for a while. In his latest full Round 1 mock draft on Dec. 17, Edholm had Wilson heading to the Carolina Panthers at No. 6.

Here’s what Edholm wrote about Wilson:

Teddy Bridgewater has been fine this season, and they likely remain on the hook with him through 2021 given his salary. But it’s hard not to wonder how this offense — with three good receivers, plus a healthy Christian McCaffrey — might look with more firepower at QB.

Enter Wilson, who would be a dangerous addition on a Joe Brady-run offense. There’s nothing Brady couldn’t call, and not a throw Wilson couldn’t make, assuming Brady doesn’t start getting head-coaching attention this offseason.

If the Panthers don’t take Wilson, the Falcons probably would be on him with the next pick.

Was BYU underrated by the committee all season?

BYU never came close to sniffing the top 10 in the College Football Playoff rankings during the five iterations of the 2020 rankings.

The Cougars opened the rankings at No. 14 despite being 9-0. The committee said that a big reason for BYU’s low ranking was the team’s weak schedule. A weak schedule that was weak because of the coronavirus pandemic.

BYU was scheduled to play numerous Power Five teams in 2020. But the Cougars lost those games when Power Five conferences limited or banned non-conference games. As a team without a conference, BYU was forced to make up a full schedule over the summer and ended up having to play a lot of lower-tier teams.

The Cougars did their part to blow out teams early in the season, but it wasn’t enough. Their ranking was a reason why they decided to play Coastal Carolina on short notice after Liberty was unable to play. And that game turned into one of the best of the season when Coastal Carolina stopped BYU at the goal line as time expired in the Chanticleers’ 22-17 victory.

BYU entered that game No. 13 and fell to No. 18 with the loss. It gained only two spots at the end of the season and was too far down the rankings to be considered for a New Year’s Six bowl game.

That’s a shame. It would have been fun to see what this BYU team could do against a Power Five opponent. While UCF had one of the best offenses in the country in 2020, the Knights were no match for the Cougars.

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