To think that I had five touchdowns is kind of surreal. —BYU WR Cody Hoffman
LAS CRUCES, N.M. — BYU's Cody Hoffman was ready and willing to do anything to help out senior quarterback James Lark, who made his first career start Saturday.
Hoffman caught 12 passes for a career-high 182 yards and a single-game school-record five touchdowns in the Cougars' 50-14 victory over New Mexico State.
Even more amazing, Hoffman did it despite a shoulder injury suffered in last week's loss at San Jose State, where he caught a career-high 13 passes for 155 yards.
"It's good," Hoffman said when asked about his shoulder. "It's going to be sore tomorrow, but it's all worth it."
Hoffman and Lark teamed up to torch the Aggie secondary.
It marked the first time in Hoffman's life that he recorded five TDs in a game.
"In high school I had four, but one was a punt return and one was a rushing touchdown," he said. "To think that I had five touchdowns is kind of surreal."
If that wasn't enough, Hoffman became the first Cougar to eclipse the 1,000-yard receiving mark in a season since 2008, when Dennis Pitta and Austin Collie both accomplished the feat. Hoffman now has 1,134 yards this season, and 90 receptions.
"It feels good. I feel like I've worked hard for it," Hoffman said of joining the 1,000-yard club. "I'm not done yet. We still have another game to go."
Lark was appreciative of Hoffman's performance.
"Cody's unbelievable. He's a special player," he said. "They don’t come around very often. It being my first start, having a guy like Cody, I should take advantage of that. And that's exactly what I did. You put it anywhere within his radius, and he'll catch it."
"It seems like every time we throw to him it's a critical situation and there's something good that happens," coach Bronco Mendenhall said of Hoffman. "Rarely does he drop one. They throw it behind him, under him, over him, and he just keeps bringing them down. Man, he's made so many plays for our program. We're really lucky that he's here."
Hoffman has now caught at least one pass in 31 consecutive games.
And he's moving up BYU's all-time charts. Hoffman jumped to No. 4 in career receptions (193), surpassing Margin Hooks, and to No. 6 in career receiving yards (2,604), eclipsing Phil Odle. Hoffman's five TDs give him 28 for his career, good for No. 3 in school history and just two behind the all-time leader, Austin Collie.
LOUD AND PROUD: Once again, BYU fans represented well on the road, and Mendenhall was grateful for that.
"Most coaches marvel at our support. I think what it really shows is, there's so much more to BYU than just football," he said. "I love our fans at home. There's a phenomenal commitment though from the ones that travel and show up when we play on the road. They're so excited to see us. That's been a great thing about independence. There are some unique places we're playing. For those fans that don't usually get to see us in person, you talk to them and they're appreciative. That's a pretty cool thing."
WILLIAMS SHINES: Jamaal Williams passed Ronney Jenkins for most rushing yards in a season by a true freshman running back at BYU. He ran for 62 yards Saturday, and now has 744 yards this season, moving past Jenkins, who had 733 in 1996.
FALSLEV CONTRIBUTES: JD Falslev had a season-high 42-yard punt return in the second quarter, setting up BYU's second touchdown of the game — Falslev's 3-yard TD catch.
Falslev also caught a career-high nine passes for 68 yards.
SACK MACHINE: Linebacker Kyle Van Noy recorded a career-best three sacks, giving him 11.5 on the season. Linebacker Brandon Ogletree tallied a team-high 10 tackles and a career-high three tackles-for-loss.
SOLID DAY: Punter Riley Stephenson punted just twice Saturday, a 49-yarder and a 58-yarder. The Ray Guy Award semifinalist entered the game No. 2 in the nation in punting.
ROUGH DAY: Justin Sorensen was 70 for 70 on PATs in his career before missing in the second quarter after BYU's first touchdown. Sorensen missed another PAT in the fourth quarter.
EXTRA POINTS: Junior quarterback Jason Munns replaced Lark with eight minutes remaining in the game. Riley Nelson (No. 13) and tight end Terenn Houk (No. 11) switched numbers Saturday. BYU center Braden Hansen was held out of Saturday's game due to a groin injury.