BYU football vs. Texas State 14

BYU quarterback Zach Wilson throws a deep touchdown pass during the Cougar game against Texas State at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020.

Here’s what’s going on inside Darnell’s head as the first snow of the season hits the ground.

Guess what?

Zach Wilson is really good.

I can say that but I’m still not sure BYU fans really appreciate what they are seeing right now.

Wilson finished 19-of-25 for 287 yards and four touchdowns in Saturday’s 52-14 win against Texas State, and he did that in just over two quarters. He threw a 30-yard TD pass to Isaac Rex for a 42-7 lead with 10:47 to play in the third and his night was done.

Many of his throws are world class. That touchdown pass to Dax Milne was 60 yards across the field and Wilson didn’t even really set his feet.

He’s special and making a difficult game look really, really easy.

Expect more of the same next Saturday against Western Kentucky, but the real test is coming Nov. 6 at Boise State. The Cougars have never won on the Smurf Turf and the Broncos are pretty good. Plus, Wilson was originally committed to Boise State before switching to BYU.

All kinds of great story lines for that game. Does it rise to the level of some of BYU’s biggest games? The 2008 matchup against TCU or the 2009 game with Florida State?

It’s going to be fun to talk about, isn’t it.

We hear you

Saturday also represented the first game this season with fans at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The 6,000 in attendance was at their loudest in the second quarter after a BYU fumble gave Texas State the ball at the Cougar 10-yard line. BYU made a goal line stand and kept the Bobcats from scoring, and you can give an assist to Cougar fans.

It’s hard to quantify what having fans in the stands actually means. College football, according to various websites, has the most significant home field advantage in sports. From 2006 to 2016, for example, 100 of the 119 FBS schools had a better record at home than on the road.

BYU played well during the circumstances COVID-19 brought to the beginning of the season with no fans for the first four games. There were about 10,000 fans at the Houston game — a good portion of them cheering for BYU.

I mean, playing pickup basketball is still basketball, and playing in a Turkey Bowl game on Thanksgiving is still football. But it’s not the same as the real thing.

Saturday was a lot closer to the real thing, and college football players need that normal to return.

Not Top 10 list

BYU moved up to No. 10 in the Coaches poll and to No. 11 in the Associated Press poll on Sunday. I’m not sure why but I’ve always put more credence in the AP poll than the Coaches poll. Media bias, I guess? So I’m not declaring the Cougars as a Top 10 team until they get there in the AP poll.

There’s a chance the Cougars will be a Top 10 team when they travel to Boise State and that will be quite the matchup.

Spreading it around

By my count 19 different players handled the ball on offense for BYU on Saturday.

Just about everybody dressed for the game played in the rout, which accounted for some of the raggedness in the second half. While it might not have been pretty football to watch, it’s important that the backups get a chance to play. Not just as a reward for hard work but to allow family and friends to see them in a BYU uniform.

In addition, it’s a long season and any wear and tear you can save on the starters will be important later on.

Catchy tune

Did you know someone put music to the “I Believe that We Will Win” song? I’ve heard it the past two weeks at the start of high school football games.

A nice gesture

I wrote a story about an Omaha, Nebraska, family that surprised their kids with a trip to Utah for the BYU-Texas State game. When I saw the video that Seth McCune posted on social media I made a comment asking him to DM me so we could talk.

It was clear from some of the comments that followed that some people were under the impression that I was surprising the kids with a trip to the game.

Sorry for the confusion. Seth and his wife, Shannon, surprised the kids. I just wrote the story.

Besides, if I sent some random family to BYU football games and didn’t send my own, I’d be sleeping on the coach until the New Year.

Indoor games

Word on the street is that in the next few weeks the West Coast Conference will decide on whether they will host league basketball games at a bubble site situation in Las Vegas.

It’s not the ideal situation because fans likely won’t be able to attend. I’m sure most, if not all, of the games will be streamed live, so fans and media can still watch. With most college classes online, student-athletes can still continue their studies.

Losing the home court advantage will be tough. Anyone who attended the BYU-Gonzaga game in the Marriott Center back in February wouldn’t trade that experience for anything.

I guess we’ve just got to be grateful that they will be playing.

Wild finishes

Rice missed a 50-yard field goal attempt in the closing seconds against Middle Tennessee with the score tied at 34. The ball actually bounced four times — four times! — off the goal post before bouncing away and the Owls lost in overtime 40-34.

In Indiana’s 36-35 upset of No. 8 Penn State, Hoosiers quarterback Michael Pennix Jr. scored the game-winning two-point conversion in overtime by diving toward the end zone and barely touched the pylon with the ball.

That’s why we love college football, right?

That’s all for now, but for this “I’m not crying, you’re crying” moment: I’ve been covering the state cross country meet for most of the past 22 years. Thursday was the first time I’ve attended it anywhere but Highland High School and Sugar House Park. This year’s meet was at Solider Hollow Golf Course in Heber, where the area brought back memories of taking my family to the biathlon event during the 2002 Winter Olympics.

As many times as I’ve watch the cross country finals, there is still a moment that tugs at my heartstrings.

When runners reach the finish line of the 3.1-mile run, some are so exhausted they can’t continue and start to fall to the ground. There is always a member of the meet staff that runs up to those runners and helps them to get up and keep moving. For some reason, I always start to tear up when I see that.

Maybe it’s because it is a metaphor for life. Whenever you fall, there is always someone there to help you up.

Never forget that.

Mask up and have a great week.

Follow Darnell Dickson on Twitter @darnellwrites or e-mail him at

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