BYU instant analysis: Cougars suffer heartbreak again

By Jonathan Boldt

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Sept. 20 2012 10:26 p.m. MDT

Riley Nelson (13) of the Brigham Young Cougars is brought down by Demarcus Lawrence (8) of the Boise State Broncos during NCAA football in Boise, Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

If last week's rivalry heartbreak wasn't enough for Cougar fans, BYU found a way to lose in the final moments for the second week in a row. A 7-6 loss to Boise State Thursday could have gone so many ways that not one statistical category can tell the whole story.

Had Boise State coach Chris Petersen had any faith in his kicker, Thursday night's matchup in Boise, Idaho may not have even come down to the final few minutes, let alone the final drive. After a missed field goal in the first quarter, the Broncos passed up multiple chances at field goals and finished 0-5 on fourth-down conversion attempts.

The one glaring stat that will chew at BYU coaches all week was the turnover margin. Boise State managed to force five Cougar turnovers while remaining pristine at ball protection when it had the ball. Riley Nelson accounted for four of the five turnovers. One interception killed a drive inside the Bronco 15-yard line and another turned into a Pick-six for Boise State's nose guard as he rumbled 36 yards for the score.

Scoreless at the half, BYU running back Michael Alisa appeared to have a promising game going ratcheting up 46 yards on 14 carries. He managed only two yards in the second half, however, with a fumble that gave Boise State the ball at BYU's 1-yard line.

Taysom Hill managed to come in for Nelson and threw for 42 yards and rushed for 72 more. He engineered an 11-play, 95-yard drive late in the fourth quarter to bring BYU with one point after his 4-yard touchdown run.

Bronco opted to go for two points and the win, but Hill's roll-out pass missed the mark after poor blocking by BYU's offensive line, effectively ending the Cougars' hopes for a win.

That final drive for BYU nearly doubled its offensive output for the entire game, as the offense only managed 204 yards of total offense.

After back to back hearbreaking losses, it will remain to be seen if Nelson's 4-9, 19 yards, three interceptions and fumble performance will be enough to give Hill the starting slot for the upcoming game against Hawaii.

Jonathan Boldt is the Editor-in-Chief of the UVU Review at Utah Valley University, and can be reached at jonboldt@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @jboldt24. www.uvureview.com

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