CORVALLIS, Ore. — Cody Hoffman's career game in a win over Oregon State couldn't have come before a more hungry audience because Hoffman's friends and family came en masse to Reser Stadium, a short trek from his home in Crescent City, Calif., to see him shine in BYU's win over the Beavers.
"It felt good, just like a high school game where they were all there to cheer," said Hoffman, who killed Oregon State's defense with a series of circus catches, power vertical jump ball catches in BYU's 38-28 win over the Beavers.
Hoffman's star antics helped lift BYU to a 5-2 record as an independent and moved the Cougars one game closer to bowl eligibility heading into a home game next week against Idaho State.
Hoffman finished with nine catches for 152 yards and one touchdown. His longest catch of the day was a 46-yarder in which he caught the ball, had a defender pop it out of his hands, then hauled it in a second time as he hit the turf.
"Cody Hoffman made some critical plays for us today," said BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall.
It was a matter of timing, Hoffman's 6-foot-4 size height advantage over defenders, and clear mismatches against OSU in one-on-one coverage, according to BYU quarterback Riley Nelson.
Hoffman gets that when he plays on the short side of the field against defenders.
"When you are as tall as he is, it makes it easier for a quarterback because you know if you put it up there, he has a great chance at coming down with it," said Nelson, who was roommates with Hoffman for one and a half years.
"We have chemistry and we spend time after practice working on our timing," said Nelson.
It is not happenstance Hoffman's breakout game came in Nelson's second start for the Cougars. It has allowed the former roommates to work on some game chemistry.
"His scrambling ability opens up things for me," said Hoffman of Nelson, whose unconventional style and fearless running ability is extending plays.
"He gives me more time to get open out there," said Hoffman.
Nelson rushed 12 times for 87 yards, his longest a 22-yard play. Nelson was BYU's leading rusher on the day and averaged a whopping 7.2 yards per play.
"Any time I can make a defense take one more man out of coverage, that's a good thing for our offense and the pass," said Nelson.
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