Brigham Young University
Dec 30 | 10:00 AM
24 - 21
University of Tulsa
Gerald J. Ford Stadium

5801 Airline Road Dallas TX 75205

Kenny Cox | Posted: 30 Dec 2011 | Updated: 4 Aug 2023
Kenny Cox

Hoffman's Third Touchdown Lifts BYU Over Tulsa

DALLAS - With no timeouts left and 11 seconds remaining in the game, Riley Nelson faked spiking the ball to stop the clock and instead threw to an open Cody Hoffman for the game-winning touchdown to give BYU a 24-21 win over Tulsa in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl at Gerald J. Ford Stadium on Friday.
BYU faced a 4th-and-9 from the Tulsa 47-yard line with the clock ticking down near three minutes remaining in the game. After finding no one open downfield, Nelson scrambled 14 yards to convert the first down. BYU got the ball down to the 2-yard line before Nelson found Hoffman for his third touchdown catch of the game and the crafty score with 11 seconds left.
"I was really pleased with the way our team battled, the grit, the determination, especially in the second half," head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "We have a strong reputation of when games are close to find a way to win."
With the win, BYU (10-3) locked up its fifth 10-win season in the last six years and third bowl victory in a row, its first three-game bowl win streak in program history.
Hoffman, named the Armed Forces Bowl Most Outstanding Player for the Cougars finished with eight catches for 122 yards and a bowl-record three touchdowns. 
BYU struggled on offense for much of the game with Nelson facing constant pressure and a running game that could never get going. The Cougars finished with 344 total yards and Nelson battled through a tough day, completing 17 of 40 passes for 250 yards and two interceptions, but adding three important touchdowns, including the game-winner.
"Nothing came easy for (Nelson) today," Mendenhall said.
Later on, Mendenhall added, "Yet when it came down to driving the team to win the game, including the instructions to down the ball, he fake downs it and throws a touchdown, he just wasn't going to be denied helping our team win. That's who he is. I was really impressed."
Despite the offensive issues, BYU’s defense was stout as usual, surrendering just 272 total yards and only 37 yards on the ground to a Golden Hurricane team that came into the game averaging over 200 rushing yards per game.
In response to BYU's game plan for stopping the Tulsa rushing attack, linebacker Kyle Van Noy simply said, "Practice."
Van Noy made play after play on defense with 10 tackles to lead the Cougars, including five tackles for loss, two sacks, one forces fumble and one quarterback hurry.
Special teams also played a huge role in the game. Punter Riley Stephenson had eight punts for 335 yards, including seven inside the 20-yard line and two punts over 50 yards. BYU’s special teams also recovered a muffed punt setting up one touchdown in the game.
Tulsa took a 14-3 lead in the second quarter with the help of wide receiver Bryan Burnham catching a 50-yard pass from G.J. Kinne to move downfield. Two plays later Kinne picked up his second touchdown pass of the game on a quick strike to tight end Clay Sears from 14 yards out.
With 25 seconds left on the clock in the second quarter, BYU deep snapper Reed Hornung ran down the field on punt coverage and caused Tulsa’s returner to muff the kick. The Cougars’ David Foote recovered it at the Golden Hurricane 17-yard line. On the ensuing play, Nelson scrambled to his left and received a big block from a helmetless Matt Reynolds and found Hoffman for a 17-yard touchdown pass. The score trimmed Tulsa’s lead to 14-10 at halftime.
"Man if your special teams gives you a gift like that you have to capitalize," Nelson said. "Like I said, if you're not putting drives together, you got to find a way. Myself included."
After back-to-back tackles for loss, including a sack from Van Noy, the Golden Hurricane missed a 46-yard field goal attempt. BYU finally capitalized on its strong defense by putting together a 9-play, 71-yard touchdown drive. Nelson threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Hoffman again to put the Cougars in the lead for the first time at 17-14 with 1:41 remaining in the third quarter.
Tulsa answered with another touchdown drive of its own later on in the fourth quarter. Kinne hurled another pass over the top for a 30-yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone to give the Golden Hurricane a 21-17 lead with 10:42 left.
BYU had Tulsa pinned up against the goal line and forced a punt but ran into the kicker to give the Golden Hurricane a new set of downs. The Cougars stopped the drive and punt returner JD Falslev still got BYU in good field position with a 22-yard return to the Tulsa 48-yard line with 4:18 remaining, setting up BYU’s game-winning drive. Falslev finished with three punt returns for 44 yards to go along with a pair of receptions for 31 yards.
The Cougars finished their first season as an independent winning 10 games and defeating teams from the SEC, Pac-12, C-USA and WAC while playing 11 games on the ESPN family of networks.
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jchristiansen | Posted: 19 Dec 2011 | Updated: 8 Nov 2020

BYU vs. Tulsa Game Notes - Armed Forces Bowl


BYU will close out the 2011 season against Tulsa in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl on Friday, Dec. 30, with kickoff set for 11 a.m. CT. The game will be broadcast live from Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas, Texas, on ESPN, and KSL Radio 1160 AM, 102.7 FM and

BYU (9-3) vs. Tulsa (8-4, C-USA)
Dec. 30, 2011
11 a.m. CT
Gerald J. Ford Stadium
Dallas, Texas

For the complete Armed Forces Bowl game notes, see the attached PDF file below.

- With a 9-3 record heading into the Armed Forces Bowl, BYU is looking for its fifth 10-win season under Bronco Mendenhall’s seven-year head coaching tenure. If accomplished, Mendenhall would join Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops and Georgia’s Mark Richt as the only three active FBS coaches with five 10-win seasons in their first seven FBS head coaching seasons.
- Under head coach Bronco Mendenhall, BYU has a 4-2 record in bowl games. Mendenhall is one of four active coaches who have advanced to a bowl in each of his first seven seasons (Bob Stoops, Oklahoma; Mark Richt, Georgia; Kyle Whittingham, Utah).
- BYU has averaged 49.0 ppg in its last five contests against Tulsa. In the last five games of 2011, the Cougars have averaged 43.8 ppg.
- BYU is playing an Oklahoma-based school in a bowl game for the fourth time. The Cougars played Oklahoma State in its first two bowl games in program history, losing both games in 1974 and 1976, respectively. In the 1994 Copper Bowl, BYU defeated Oklahoma, 31-6.
- Members of the Cougars have been honored by postseason publications this month. Highlights include receiver Ross Apo being named Sporting News Freshman All-America honorable mention and Independent Freshman of the Year by Yahoo! Sports as well as Phil Steele All-Independent Second Team. Bronco Mendenhall was named Independent Coach of the Year by Yahoo! while QB Riley Nelson, WR Cody Hoffman, OL Matt Reynolds, OL Braden Hansen and LB Kyle Van Noy earned spots on all three All-Independent postseason teams.

- The Cougars have played a bowl game on Dec. 30 three times before, going 0-2-1. BYU lost to UCLA in the 1986 Freedom Bowl and Ohio State in the 1993 Holiday Bowl while tieing Iowa in the 1991 Holiday Bowl.
- Tulsa is the third team from Oklahoma that BYU has played in a bowl game. BYU lost to Oklahoma State in its first two bowl appearances in the 1974 Fiesta Bowl and 1976 Tangerine Bowl in addition to defeating Oklahoma in the 1994 Copper Bowl.
- BYU is 2-1 against current C-USA membership, including a win over SMU when the Mustangs were a member of the Southwest Conference in 1980, winning 46-45 in the now-classic “Miracle Bowl.” Tulsa is the fourth Conference USA opponent the Cougars have played in a bowl game. BYU is 1-2 all-time against C-USA bowl opponents, losing 41-27 to Tulane in the 1998 Liberty Bowl and 28-10 in the 2001 Liberty Bowl to Louisville (now in the Big East) before defeating UTEP, 52-24, in last year’s New Mexico Bowl. Meeting for the 7th time, BYU and Tulsa have never faced each other on a neutral field. BYU is 4-0 at home and 2-1 on the road against the Golden Hurricane.
- The Armed Forces Bowl is BYU’s 30th bowl appearance and 7th-straight bowl game. Tulsa is playing in its 18th bowl game and second consecutive and its first since last season’s Hawaii Bowl. The Golden Hurricane have been to a bowl six of the last seven seasons.
- BYU’s seven-year bowl streak is currently tied for the 15th-longest active streak among all FBS teams.

This is the eighth meeting between BYU and Tulsa. The Cougars are 6-1 vs. the Golden Hurricane. Despite dominating the series, BYU suffered a defeat in the last matchup, falling to Tulsa 55-47 in an offensive shootout in Tulsa, Okla. In just his third-career start, sophomore Max Hall threw for 537 yards and four touchdowns but it wasn’t enough to match the Golden Hurricane’s 595 total yards. BYU took the lead into halftime at 34-31 but Tulsa came out in the second half and scored back-to-back touchdowns to take the lead and not look back. The Cougars cut it to five points near the end of the third quarter but couldn’t get any closer. BYU outgained the Golden Hurricane 694 to 595 but four turnovers doomed the Cougars.

The BYU offense has had at least three touchdown passes in six of its last seven games and has had at least one TD pass in 11 of 12 games this season. Last season, the Cougars had just two games with three or more TD throws and had a TD throw in only 8 of 13 games.

Games with 3 or More Touchdown Passes
2011 - 6
2010 - 2
2009 - 6
2008 - 7
2007 - 4
2006 - 7
2005 - 6

Several BYU players were named to two different All-Independent Teams following the Cougars’ 9-3 regular season campaign. Freshman wide receiver Ross Apo who was named a 2011 College Football News Freshman All-America honorable mention and won both the FBS and Yahoo! Sports Independent Freshman of the Year awards. Also among individual honorees, head coach Bronco Mendenhall also received Coach of the Year honors from Yahoo! Sports. The Cougars had eight players named to the Yahoo! Sports All-Independent Team and 16 players with 17 total selections on the Phil Steele All-Independent First and Second Teams. BYU had nine selections on the first team and eight on the second team. On the FBS All-Independent Team, BYU earned seven honors along with eight honorable mentions.

HC Bronco Mendenhall - Yahoo! Sports Independent Coach of the Year
WR Ross Apo - College Football News Freshman All-America honorable mention, FBS Independent Freshman
of the Year, Yahoo! Sports Independent Freshman of the Year, Phil Steele All-Independent Second Team
WR/KR Cody Hoffman - FBS, Yahoo! Sports, Phil Steele All-Independent First Teams (WR), Phil Steele All-
Independent Second Team (KR)
QB Riley Nelson - FBS, Yahoo! Sports, Phil Steele All-Independent First Teams
OL Matt Reynolds - FBS, Yahoo! Sports, Phil Steele All-Independent First Teams
OL Braden Hansen - FBS, Yahoo! Sports, Phil Steele All-Independent First Teams
LB Kyle Van Noy - FBS, Yahoo! Sports, Phil Steele All-Independent First Teams
P Riley Stephenson - Yahoo! Sports, Phil Steele All-Independent First Teams, FBS honorable mention
PR JD Falslev - Yahoo! Sports, Phil Steele All-Independent First Team
DB Corby Eason - FBS, Phil Steele All-Independent First Teams
PK Justin Sorensen - Phil Steele All-Independent First Team, FBS honorable mention
TE Austin Holt - Phil Steele All-Independent Second Team
OL Braden Brown - Phil Steele All-Independent Second Team
DL Hebron Fangupo - Phil Steele All-Independent Second Team, FBS honorable mention
LB Brandon Ogletree - Phil Steele All-Independent Second Team, FBS honorable mention
LB Uona Kaveinga - Phil Steele All-Independent Second Team
DB Travis Uale - FBS All-Independent First Team, Phil Steele All-Independent Second Team
CB Preston Hadley - Yahoo! Sports All-Independent Team, FBS honorable mention
RB JJ Di Luigi - FBS honorable mention
OL Terence Brown - FBS honorable mention
DB Daniel Sorensen - FBS honorable mention
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