PROVO, Utah – Quarterback Riley Nelson scored a career-high four touchdowns while throwing for 215 yards and running for 62 more in 56-3 BYU rout over FCS foe Idaho State.
"I believe we played consistently for four quarters," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "We had a great chance for young players to play and they handled their assignments well. They executed at a high level. It's a unique challenge to play an FCS team this time of the season. It showed maturity from our team and is a real step forward."
Nelson finished 11 of 17 passing for 215 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another to lead BYU (6-2) to its fifth straight win. Idaho State (2-6) was unable to stop the Cougar offensive attack throughout the game as BYU recorded season highs in total yards (572), rushing yards (290) and points (56).
BYU used a balanced game plan to rack up 290 rushing yards and 282 passing yards in the game. Sophomore Cody Hoffman led the BYU receiving corps with five catches for 71 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore Michael Alisa led the Cougars in rushing with 66 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
The BYU defense recorded three interceptions, including one by Daniel Sorensen that was returned for a touchdown in third quarter, and held the Bengals to 20 yards rushing. Outside linebackers Kyle Van Noy and Jordan Pendleton recorded a combined 10 tackles, five tackles-for-loss, four sacks and three quarterback hurries.
Van Noy helped BYU get on the board quickly by blocking the first ISU punt of the game. The punt block was the first blocked kick of the season for the Cougars and first since 2009. Following the block, the BYU offense scored on its first play of the game when Nelson threw a 15-yard strike to Ross Apo for a touchdown. Apo finished the game with five catches for 71 yards and one touchdown.
ISU responded with a 63-yard drive that led to a field goal but gave up a 42-yard run to Alisa on the fourth play of the following BYU drive. BYU led 14-3 at the end of the first quarter despite holding the ball for just 1:59.
Running back J.J. Di Luigi pushed the BYU lead to 21-3 with a touchdown scamper with 8:23 remaining in the half. The Cougars scored again after a Travis Uale interception when Nelson ran in from 13-yards out for his first rushing touchdown of the season.
BYU finished the half with a Nelson-orchestrated 99-yard touchdown drive in 1:54. Nelson finished the drive with his second touchdown pass of the game, a seven-yard fade to Hoffman to put BYU 35-3 heading into the half.
Nelson led a 91-yard touchdown drive coming out of the locker room that put the Cougars up 42-3. Hoffman caught an 18-yard touchdown pass from Nelson to finish the drive.
"(Cody Hoffman) is so consistent," Mendenhall said. "He has such size and range and uses his body so well. If Riley puts it anywhere close to him he has a knack for getting the football. Cody has become the 'go-to-guy because he's making big plays in critical situations."
BYU played the remainder of the game with a consistent rotation of players. Sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps saw his first action since playing against Utah State and led the Cougars on one touchdown drive.
The Cougars will travel to Dallas next week to face off against TCU at Cowboys Stadium. The game will be played on Friday and will be televised nationally on ESPN. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. CDT.
BYU will host Idaho State on Saturday, Oct. 22, with kickoff set for 1 p.m. MT. The game will be broadcast live from LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on BYUtv and KSL Radio 1160 AM, 102.7 FM and ksl.com.
BYU (5-2) vs. Idaho State (2-5, 1-4 Big Sky)
Oct. 22, 2011
1 p.m. MT
LaVell Edwards Stadium
For the complete BYU vs. Idaho State game notes, download the attached PDF file below.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
- BYU is facing Idaho State for the first time since 1951, a span of 60 years. It’s the second-longest span between games against an opponent in BYU history after going 61 years between contests against Nevada in 1940 and 2001. The Cougars’ will also set the third-longest span in two weeks when they face Idaho for the first time since 1956 - a span of 56 years.
BYU has not played five other current FCS teams (UC Davis, Northern Colorado, Montana State, Northern Arizona and South Dakota) since at least 1951. The FBS school BYU has currently gone the longest without playing is Texas Tech, a team the Cougars last played back in 1940 -- 71 years ago and counting.
- Multiple Cougars earned awards after last week vs. Oregon State. Riley Nelson earned Independent Offensive Player of the Week, Brandon Ogletree earned Independent Defensive Player of the Week and College Football Performance Awards linebacker honorable mention and Cody Hoffman earned CFPA receiver honorable mention and Rivals.com Independent Player of the Week.
- The Cougars are 4-0 overall and 3-0 under Bronco Mendenhall when playing teams classified in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). BYU has wins over Northern Iowa (41-17 in 2008), Eastern Washington (42-7 in 2007), Eastern Illinois (45-10 in 2005) and Murray State (43-9 in 1998).
- BYU is looking for its fifth-straight win. The Cougars have not won more than four in a row since winning its last five games of 2009 and the 2010 season opener.
THE BYU-IDAHO STATE SERIES
This will be the fourth time BYU and Idaho State have played. The Cougars are undefeated against the Bengals, holding a 3-0 advantage, with two meetings in the early 1950’s and another in 1932. It has been 60 years since the two teams faced off, the last time coming in 1951 when BYU won in Provo 27-7.
Former BYU kick returner and wide receiver Mike Rigell will be returning to LaVell Edwards Stadium as a member of the Idaho State coaching staff. Rigell currently is in his first year as the running backs coach after serving as a graduate assistant for the Bengals last year. Rigell found most of his success in a Cougar uniform as a kick returner. Before current kick returner Cody Hoffman returned a kick 93 yards for a touchdown earlier this year, Rigell was the last player to accomplish that feat when he took one 96 yards to the house against Hawaii his freshman season in 1998. Rigell was an all-conference honorable mention twice in his BYU career and racked up 3,005 all-purpose yards for the Cougars, good for 14th all-time at BYU. His 1,625 kickoff return yards are tops in Cougar history.
COMING IN THREES
For the second-straight game BYU had three touchdown passes through the air. Each touchdown reception came in the second half as well. Wide receiver Cody Hoffman caught the first one, a 12-yarder in the third quarter. JD Falslev caught the second one, a 2-yard toss, and tight end Kaneakua Friel caught the third touchdown from 8 yards out in the fourth quarter.
For the third-straight week the BYU offense was able to rack up at least 400 yards of total offense. The Cougars rolled with 499 yards at Oregon State. Against San Jose State the Cougars picked up 446 yards and vs. Utah State the team used 451 total yards to beat the Aggies. Each game featured at least 200 rushing yards. In the past four games the Cougars have slowly improved their scoring as well, scoring 24, 27, 29 and 38 points.
COG IN THE MIDDLE
Despite missing one game due to injury, junior linebacker Brandon Ogletree is currently leading the BYU defense in total tackles, assisted tackles and unassisted tackles and ranks second on the team with two forced fumbles. Ogletree has 43 total tackles on the season, giving him an average of just over seven tackles per game. As a sophomore, Ogletree saw significant action in 11 games and recorded 49 tackles on the season. Ogletree also forced two fumbles and recorded an interception against Oregon State. For his efforts against the Beavers, Ogletree received Honorable Mention Linebacker of the Week honors from the College Football Performance Awards.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES
BYU continued its streak of recording at least 5.0 TFL to three games against Oregon State. BYU recorded a season-best 7.0 TFL for a total loss of 22 yards against the Beavers. Senior linebacker Jordan Pendleton, in his second game back from injury, led BYU with a career high 3.0 TFL. Pendleton also recorded a sack in the game. The Cougars recorded 5.0 TFL against the San Jose State and 6.0 against Utah State.
Junior corner Preston Hadley led the Cougars with 11 total tackles and three pass breakups against Oregon State. The 11 tackles recorded by Hadley are the second most for an individual Cougar this season, just behind the 12 tackles recorded by Spencer Hadley against Texas. The 11 tackles by Hadley nearly doubled his season total of 16 and marked the first time a corner has led BYU in tackles so far this season. His three pass breakups also tied the individual high for a BYU player this season. Hadley and Corby Eason recorded three pass breakups earlier this year against Utah.
BYU has forced nine fumbles in seven games this season, a total that currently ranks atop the stand- ings for FBS Independent teams. The Cougars are averaging 1.29 forced fumbles per game this season. The linebackers have led the way in the forced fumble department. Junior Uona Kaveinga has three forced fumbles this season while fellow junior Brandon Ogletree recorded two against Oregon State. The Cougars have recovered seven of the nine forced fumbles, which also ranks first among FBS Independent teams.
With two forced fumbles at Oregon State, junior linebacker Brandon Ogletree became just the second player in BYU history to force two fumbles in a game since official records were kept in 2000. Andrew Rich also recorded two against No. 3 Oklahoma in 2009. Ogletree also had an interception vs. the Beavers.
BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO
Senior defensive back Corby Eason has recorded two or more pass breakups in four of the last five games and now has 11 on the season and 14 in his career and was recently named to Phil Steele’s Midseason All-Independent First Team. Eason’s season mark ties for second-most in a season at BYU (since official stats were kept in 2000) behind Brian Logan’s 14 while his career mark is good for a tie for fourth-most. Logan also holds that record with 21 career breakups.
KICK RETURN KING
Cody Hoffman is quickly moving up the career kickoff return list at BYU with 34 returns, 875 yards and a 25.7 average per return.
BYU Career Kick Return Yards
7. Vai Sikahema (1980-81, 84-85) 973 yards
8. Mike O’Brien (1986-88) 945 yards
9. Cody Hoffman (2010-pres) 875 yards
BYU Career Kick Return Average
1. Chris Farasopoulos (1968-70) 27.27 avg
2. Austin Collie (2004, 07-08) 26.06 avg
3. Cody Hoffman (2010-pres) 25.74 avg