Robin Zielinski , AP
Brigham Young quarterback James Lark, right, looks ahead to a receiver while rolling out of the pocket against New Mexico State in an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Nov. 24, 2012, in Las Cruces, N.M. (AP Photo/Las Cruces Sun-News, Robin Zielinski)
With Riley Nelson out with multiple injuries, senior quarterback James Lark finally had his shot to take the reigns of BYU's offense. He cashed in big time during the Cougars' 50-14 blowout win over the Aggies of New Mexico State. Lark added to the Cougars offense something that has been lacking all year — an accurate downfield passing attack.
He completed 34-50 passes for 384 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. Lark's performance was only eclipsed by Cody Hoffman's record-setting outing. Hoffman snagged 12 passes for 184 yards and a BYU receiving-record five touchdowns.
The Cougars fell behind 7-0 early but answered with 23 consecutive points. The Aggies pulled within 23-14 late in the third quarter before the Cougars' offense exploded. Momentum swung drastically when Lark tried to force a pass with four minutes to play in the third that was nearly intercepted and returned for a touchdown. However, the Aggies' cornerback dropped the pass and on the following play, Lark connected with Hoffman for a 31-yard touchdown, his third of the day.
It was all downhill from there — or uphill, depending on your perspective — as the Cougars added 27 unanswered points to bury New Mexico State and pick up their seventh win of the year. Lark hooked up with JD Falslev for his only touchdown pass to someone not named Hoffman in the second quarter on a 4-yard strike at the goal line. Falslev also added 68 yards to go along with his score.
Jamaal Williams picked up 62 yards on the ground and David Foote added 52 yards of his own as the two headlined a 136-yard rushing performance for BYU. The Cougars dominated every category, outgaining the Aggies 520 yards to 187.
Despite coming out flat, the Cougars' top-ranked defense showed up at halftime and completely shutdown the Aggies' offense. The season finale showed some much sought-after offensive promise that will leave fans speculating about Nelson's injury and who will start for the Cougars in the Poinsettia Bowl.
BYU will travel to San Diego for the Dec. 20 contest with a yet-to-be-determined opponent.
Jonathan Boldt is the Editor-in-Chief of the UVU Review at Utah Valley University, and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @jboldt24. www.uvureview.com www.boldted.com