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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars tight end Kaneakua Friel (82) celebrates his touchdown against Washington State in Provo Thursday, Aug. 30, 2012.

PROVO — The 2012 football season is off to a good start for the Cougars.

Yes, the ones from Provo.

The BYU Cougars have a 24-6 halftime lead over Mike Leach's visiting Washington State Cougars tonight at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Starting quarterback Riley Nelson has thrown for 178 yards on 16-for-24 passing with two touchdown tosses to lead the home Cougs to the big first-half advantage.

Nelson helped put BYU up 7-0 in the first quarter with a a 7-yard TD pass to Skyler Ridley. The Cougars' senior playmaker then added a second scoring strike — a 25-yard hook-up with Kaneakua Friel — late in the second quarter.

That was Friel's second touchdown catch, but the first from BYU's starting QB. Freshman QB Taysom Hill took a snap on a fourth-down situation early in the second quarter and turned his first collegiate pass into a 17-yard touchdown to the junior tight end.

Receiver Cody Hoffman got a quad contusion in the first half after hauling in three receptions for 46 yards. He will not return for the remainder of the game.

EMAIL: jody@desnews.com