The BYU offense started slow but came up big in the second quarter as BYU blew out the Weber State Wildcats 45-13 at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
“The slow start was what it was,” Riley Nelson, quarterback for BYU said. “We have to address that. You can’t ignore that just because we put together more scoring drives as the game went on, doesn’t mean it erases those miscues and missed execution early on in the game. We’re hungry to get better and eager to evaluate our performance and get better.”
The Cougar defense came up with big plays to keep the Wildcats from taking advantage of the Cougar’s early struggles. Linebacker Spencer Hadley and defensive end Eathyn Manumaleuna led the defensive effort while the offense struggled. Hadley and Manumaleuna combined for three and a half sacks and four and a half tackles for loss. The defense sacked the quarterback six times during the game.
BYU’s offense wouldn’t be contained long as Nelson and the offense found their rhythm and began moving the ball with more consistency. In one half of play Nelson had one touchdown and one interception while completing 18 passes on 29 attempts for 244 yards. Cody Hoffman was Nelson’s primary target during the first half. Hoffman finsished the game with seven receptions for 115 yards and one touch down. With the receptions today, Hoffman extended his streak of games with a reception to 21 consecutive games.
BYU got it’s first points of the game when Hoffman, a 6’4″ wideout, jumped up and ripped a pass out of the air for a 37 yard touchdown over a much smaller defender. “Riley had faith in me and just threw it up and I came down with it,” Hoffman said.
The blow out allowed Cougar fans to get an extended look at senior quarterback James Lark and freshman quarterback Taysom Hill. Hill had two touchdowns on the ground and Lark added a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown.
“James has battled for a long time and just waited for his opportunity,” coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “I think he was poised and composed and was pretty methodical about how he moved the team. It was also fun to see Taysom get an opportunity out there as well.”
Despite the strong defense by the Cougars, Tony Epperson, the punter for Weber State, kept BYU out of good field position with his leg. Epperson averaged 50.1 yards a punt in the first half. That average was helped by punts of 74 and 71 yards.
A number of Cougars recorded their first statistics of the season. Tight end Richard Wilson caught his first pass since having surgery to repair his ACL. Wide receiver Alex Kuresa also got into his first game and caught 3 passes for 47 yards in place of Ross Apo, who was held out of the game with a tweaked hamstring.
Michael Alisa and Kaneakua Friel both added touchdowns for the Cougars who improved to 2-0 on the young season. Next week the Cougars head to Salt Lake to play the Utah Utes at Rice-Eccles Stadium. The Cougars hope to avenge last year’s 54-10 loss by beating the Utes on their home field.