BYU football report card: BYU starts slow but ends strong vs. New Mexico State in final game of regular season
Robin Zielinski , AP
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — The Cougars overcame a lethargic start to run away with a 50-14 victory over New Mexcico State. Grades are in for every position group and for the team overall.
OFFENSE: The offense struggled early and didn't score at all in the first quarter. BYU's run-blocking was ineffective throughout most the game, but Jamaal Williams did manage 62 yards on 19 carries despite a slow start and a lack of holes and effective push upfield.
James Lark fared well in his first start under center. The senior quarterback had his ups and downs, but finished with a very impressive 34-50 passing for 384 yards and six touchdowns. Cody Hoffman again led the team in receiving and finished with a career-high 182 yards and five touchdowns on 12 receptions. JD Falslev provided a solid effort with nine receptions for 68 yards and a touchdown.
Overall the offense accounted for over 500 yards of total offense and 50 points. GRADE: B+.
DEFENSE: The defense started out flat for the second week in a row, but, like the offense, found its groove later. The secondary was beat deep a few times, but tightened up as the game wore on. An effective Cougar pass rush contributed heavily to stunting the Aggie passing attack.
Overall the defense held the Aggies to just 187 yards of total offense and 14 points. GRADE: B+.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Justin Sorensen missed badly on his first field-goal attempt and missed two extra points — the first misses of his career. He did connect on a short field goal, but is seemingly struggling with his confidence.
Riley Stephenson had an efficient game punting and all coverage and return units were adequate. GRADE: B-.
OVERALL: BYU's slow start may have done the team in against a better opponent, but not against a poor NMSU team. The team woke up, found its groove and provided the type of dominance and margin of victory that most expected going in. It was a good effort to rebound from last week's disappointment against San Jose State and allows the team to go into the Poinsettia Bowl on a high note. GRADE: B+.
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