No. 14 BYU's quest for an undefeated season marched on Friday night as quarterback Zach Wilson continued his prolific junior season by throwing for 400 yards and four touchdowns in a 43-26 win at Houston -- a victory that required a second-half comeback. Playing just its second game of the season, Houston led 26-14 late in the third quarter before BYU scored four unanswered touchdowns to close the game and improve to 5-0.
The win was critical for BYU's national profile as the independent program struggled to assemble a full schedule this season after six games against foes from SEC, Big Ten and Pac-12 were erased from its original schedule due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Games against Navy, Houston, Boise State and San Diego State headline BYU's revamped schedule, and it is now 2-0 against teams from that grouping.
Wilson and his favorite target, Dax Milne, are largely to thank for BYU surviving a gamely effort from Houston on Friday. A week after committing five turnovers in a 49-31 season-opening win against Tulane, Houston did not commit a single turnover against the Green Wave, but a series of special teams miscues haunted the Cougars against BYU.
BYU recovered a surprise onside kick after scoring to make it 26-21 in the final minute of the third quarter. BYU didn't score on the ensuing possession, but the onside kick helped flip field position as Houston began its next possession pinned deep once again. BYU got a stop, and Houston punter Laine Wilkins shanked a punt just 13 yards to set up BYU's go-ahead score on an underhanded shovel pass from Wilson to Masen Wake with 10:35 left in the game.
It was Wilson's only touchdown pass of the night that did not go to Milne, who finished with nine catches for 184 yards and three touchdowns, including an 18-yard touchdown catch with 3:06 left put BYU up 36-26 with 3:06 left and sealed the outcome.
Wilson is now 107-of-136 passing for 1,641 yards, 12 touchdowns and just one interception through five games. Milne entered with a team-high 24 receptions but just one touchdown. He's now the team leader with four.
BYU hosts Texas State and Western Kentucky before a showdown at Boise State on Nov. 6. Houston plays at Navy next week as it will look to regroup and challenge for league title in what appears to be a wide open AAC.