Dick Harmon: Riley Nelson breathes life into Cougar comeback

Backup's unconventional approach sparks Cougs

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  • dustman Nampa, ID
    Oct. 3, 2011 8:44 a.m.

    I think Riley should start until he gets hurt again. The offensive line isn't as good as we hoped they would be, so both Heaps and Riley are gonna get hit. Riley is so agressive it might start taking its toll on him as the season goes on.

    Biggest difference is how Riley is able to look past the primary reciever if necessary. He doesn't force it to him, but looks to other open people. I wasn't a Riley fan before, but he showed heart.

    Heaps was rushed into the starting position. He needs to sit back and learn. Knowledge gives a guy confidence, and there is a bunch about college football that Heaps can learn.

    In the end, Riley is a fit for a Doman offense. I hope he can stay healthy. I hope he and Heaps can work together. Heaps needs to hang in there and not get discouraged. Great job Riley. Class act.

  • BleedCougarBlue Enid, OK
    Oct. 2, 2011 11:15 p.m.

    Time to start, Nelson.

    Usually I'd say he's nowhere near as accurate as Heaps, but lately Heaps has been anything accurate. Plus, Heaps hasn't shown any real fire for quite some time this season.

    Over pride and an L or humility and a W, I'll take the W.

  • UtahBronco Lehi, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 7:20 p.m.

    Re: comments encouraging Bro. Heaps to serve a mission - might he (and she) have to wait about 40 years or so since he is now a married "man".

  • berf Perry, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 6:16 p.m.

    Look in the eyes of Riley then look in the eyes of Heaps. Riley's eyes were determined. They showed confidence, focus, and determination. It is what made the difference. The team saw it and felt it and they started to play the game for the first time this year.

    Heaps looked like a worried little boy. Heaps may have more talent but he lacks leadership and maturity. That will only come with time. It would be good for him if he went on a mission and returned grownup and ready to lead.

  • kreese Taft, CA
    Oct. 2, 2011 5:06 p.m.

    Nelson presents some real problems for defenses--any running quarterback does. Anyone remember Joe Kapp, out of Cal...wasn't a bad quarterback for the Vikings. He didn't throw well, but he had heart, and was tough. Nelson reminds me of him.

    Heaps is a sophomore, he may not be ready. Also, the receivers may not be ready. Bronco needs to go with what is best for the team.

  • cougarNV Las Vegas, NV
    Oct. 2, 2011 4:51 p.m.

    " Where Heaps had been insecure and unsure, Riley oozed macho.

    Where Heaps didn't appear hungry or play with a sense of urgency this season, Nelson was starved to make a play.

    Where Heaps had shown a casual approach to third-down conversions, Riley made it a matter of life and death.

    Where Heaps was quick to get rid of the ball, Riley examined the defense and attacked with his arm or legs, his strength as a quarterback."

    Go cougars!

  • relientk Lindon, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 4:50 p.m.

    For the first time this season, the offense actually won a football game. Against Ole Miss, the defense won it for us. In the Central Florida game, the special teams had some great plays and they were key in helping us to that victory. BYU should go with the QB who is playing better and that appears to be Riley Nelson at that point. Does Heaps have more potential and a better skill set? Yes, but he isn't playing up to that potential. Our Cougars need Riley because he is someone whom they can rally around right now. Did you see how much better they played when he was in? They played with more passion and more heart and everyone took notice! I am very proud of Riley for the way he "Rose Up" and I think he will do just fine the rest of the season as QB for BYU. So all of you haters out there, please just shut up and let's see what the kid can do.

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 9:46 a.m.

    A lot of expert advice from unemployed football coaches. Bronco is just fine, thanks.

  • Munk Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 4:44 a.m.

    Regardless of the which QB is better garbage... Let me tell you what I saw in Jake Heaps. I saw a team player. He knows what is going on and from the sidelines he encouraged his team and took pride in all they did. Yes it was Nelsons night, but when you have the QB you just replaced cheering you on it only makes things better.

    I like them both.. Kudos to Nelson for playing like he was on fire and Kudos to Heaps for helping keep that fire going.

  • Aggiefan21 Riverton, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 11:49 p.m.

    If the coaches listen to the fans, they will soon be one. Nelson's success was purely based on a single game emotion and circumstances. How many hundreds of time has a flash in the pan went on to suck in subsequent games. All the time. BYU needs to stick with Heaps or what happens when Nelson throws 4 picks and loses? It will happen.

  • mightymite DRAPER, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 10:11 p.m.

    Nelson is not that good either, this was USU after all. BYU is in some serious trouble for the next few years.Period....

  • Owl Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 9:25 p.m.

    Tomahawk Red
    In football a numerical score is kept, not the "deserved" count. Nelson threw the ball, Jacobson took it away from the USU defender and that makes it earned. Wake up to sports and stop whining over an Aggie collapse. The USU players were gracious in defeat, Bronco was gracious in victory and you could learn from them.

  • niners SAINT GEORGE, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 8:24 p.m.

    Congrats to Riley! Judging by his post game comments he seems much more mature than Heaps, and overall a better leader. He admitted that they needed a little luck to win that game while Heaps would have probably acted like a hero. I think Riley is the qb BYU needs and although I do not think he will put up great numbers as a starter, he is a great leader. He could be the type of qb Brian Johnson was with the Utes, just go out there and take care of business, don't worry about stats and get the win for the team and not yourself. Thats how Brian Johnson was and Nelson reminds me of that.

  • VariedHue Logan, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 7:29 p.m.

    Has two brothers had such great games on the same night as Riley and DJ? Riley puts Spirit onto the cougars and DJ accounts for 8 touchdowns in a 67-7 win over Sky View.

    Blackshirt... You do know that the huskers are in the Big 10, which has 12 teams, and not in the Big 12 which doesn't

    Riley doesn't just have heart, he is a leader, a motivator. He makes those around him better. When are fans going to forget about the "star" ratings. Those things are based skills tests and. Ot necessarily on how they play the game. Chuckie Keeton was a one star, Riley was a no star until he was upgraded to a two star after being named to the Parade All-American team.

    If you remember, Riley and Lark faced each other in the State championship game. I don't remember the final score but Logan won by a lot and Riley had huge numbers.

    Go Aggies!!!

  • Tom in CA Vallejo, CA
    Oct. 1, 2011 6:33 p.m.

    If Riley Nelson had played the second half in the Texas game, BYU would have the "W".

    Nelson has earned the right to be the starting QB - will be interesting to see if Mendenhall sees it any different next Saturday.

  • The Deuce Livermore, CA
    Oct. 1, 2011 4:42 p.m.

    This article was spot on with what I saw as well. My question still remains, "Why did it take 3 games to realize this about Heaps?"

  • Juggernaut Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 3:32 p.m.

    I am a Ute and my disdain for byu would lessen if they kept playing Nelson. Not that Nelson is a great quarterback but his desire and himself is much more desirable than Heaps and I am sure the rest of the team would agree as well. Heaps truly bugs me to say the least. Tough loss for Utah State. No excuses, they had plenty of opportunities to win that game. Why they didn't use Turbin as much as they should have, I don't know.

  • Griz Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 2:57 p.m.

    A very inspiring performance by Nelson, way to go!

    I watched Jake Heaps standing on the sidelines cheering him on and applauding great plays. Kudos to Jake for showing some class and maturity. it must have been difficult.

    also congratulations to brandon doman. finally a byu coach willing to admit when something's not working in a game and gutsy enough to make an in-game adjustment.


  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Oct. 1, 2011 2:52 p.m.

    To me, it's clear that BYU's offense responds to Riley Nelson's leadership. Some of the balls the Cougar WRs pulled in were the same ones they dropped with Heaps throwing them.

    The WRs reminded me of fielders rising to the occasion for a pitcher closing in on a no hitter in baseball.

    Riley has heart. he has faced much adversity. Not only has he stayed strong, he got stronger against the wind.

    BYU wins with this kind of heart. The Cougars lack talent and need Nelson's character.

  • Benderman1 Layton, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 2:50 p.m.

    Starting Nelson would be a very bad decision. They play some easy games now that will hide the fact that Nelson doesn't have much ability. I wish they would take the easier schedule as a chance to evaluate what Lark can do. Nelson had his shot many times and so has Heaps but Nelson is my absolute last choice. Lark might just be the type of quarterback that all BYU fans have been missing.

  • VictorVonTrap Draper, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 2:49 p.m.

    Great win for the Cougs! Nelson is a gamer, a QB with heart. Why can't the Y recruit a top tier QB anymore? UCF's backup QB looked better than Heaps and Nelson. If the Y is trying to make a move into the BIG 12 the Y will need to step up its game significantly. The Y reminds me of a strong WAC team as best these days.

    Edwards, Chow, Holmgren, Reid, McMahon, Young . . . 1970's - 1980's. The Y's program has been in decline ever since those heady days. Why? What has changed since then?

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Oct. 1, 2011 2:45 p.m.

    USU must be cursed. A movie would be made about them with Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore if they had any fan following around the country.

    The Aggies have had three losses this year in four games. They should have won these games sleeping with their hands tied behind their back. Seriously! The BYU game is the most painful. The others were more improbable.

    A ten point lead with a minute and a half remaining at Auburn. The onside kick and various meltdowns in coverage did the Aggies in there.

    With just over three minutes left, USU had a 21-13 lead at home against CSU. The Aggies looked to field a punt, get possession and gain a first down. That would have iced the game. What happened? A fumbled punt with CSU recovering. The Rams then score a TD, convert a two point conversion, go into overtime, and then win 35-34 in double overtime.

    Finally, a 24-13 lead with 7 minutes left against BYU. The Riley Nelson factor was huge. It was a legit win for the Cougars, although the last TD was a super lucky deflection. USU is known for these crazy losses.

  • Benderman1 Layton, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 2:44 p.m.

    Hey Wayne Rout, even better than that..."Luck Happens".

  • Dr Rosenrosen Gilbert, AZ
    Oct. 1, 2011 2:30 p.m.

    some haters just can't give it up. sad and pathetic. This victory was earned. It is funny to me that some people are so blinded by their hate that they can't give credit where credit is due because their heads might just spontaneously explode. And you people know who you are. This victory was much more earned than a certain victory that was handed to a certain team in RES last year by a certain blown call.

  • Thriller Saint George, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 2:14 p.m.

    Before BYU fans proclaim Riley the starter for the rest of the year, consider this: it is one thing to enter the game in the 3rd quarter for a totally dispirited team and rally them back to beat a team that had game-planned for a completely different style of QB. However, it is quite another thing to start and play a full game against a team that is ready for you. Nearly all of the big plays Riley made last night could have been prevented or at least lessened by a defense that was prepared for his style.

    That said, Heaps clearly isn't the guy so I'd give Riley the start this week and see how he does. If he plays well and beats whatever patsy team they play next week, then keep him in. If not, give one of the other boys a shot.

    BYU's cupcake schedule is kind of a double-edged sword, on one hand they should win some games, on the other, it will be hard to evaluate talent up against such competition.

  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 2:13 p.m.

    I attended the BYU-USU game Friday night. I really don't think this game was about a rivalry win at all. Although it was nice.

    I think the fans stormed the field because we finally saw the passion and life in a quarterback who was willing to risk his own neck, then run, pass, and dive for the first downs for 98 yards down the field in a little over two minutes. Way to go Riley Nelson! The whole team was energized by it, plus the crowd of 65,000 in the stadium and around the BYU world! THIS is BYU football we love!

    I hope this is a huge wake-up call. We want to see that kind of passion and drive in this offense from the first play and continuing for 60 minutes. We saw it in the last 1 1/2 quarters of offensive play. Defense and Special Teams cannot win footballs all by themselves.

    Go Cougars!

  • badlandscougar great plains, sd
    Oct. 1, 2011 1:51 p.m.

    i'm glad they put nelson in, they needed to win and i could see how heaps continually keeps his eye on one receiver to throw to. nelson scanned the field and when noone was open he "ran like mcmahon." Riley "the snake" nelson!

  • relientk Lindon, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 1:50 p.m.

    The team rallied around Nelson and showed emotion for the first time all season on offense. Jake has to sit for a while and I think it will be good for the kid to get his act together. Jake has a ton of potential, but right now this is Nelsons team! The whole stadium was chanting "Riley Nelson" last night! Have they ever done so for Nelson's new backup?

  • Wayne Rout El Paso, TX
    Oct. 1, 2011 1:19 p.m.

    I think someone else said it best... "Magic happens".

  • Black Shirts South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 1:17 p.m.

    Here is the future! Nielson will not start next year. The Hill kid is way better than Nielson and Heaps. Heaps had his chance and should transfer. Hill 2012/2013, Mangum? 2014-.

  • Black Shirts South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 1:07 p.m.

    By the way Utey fans. If you want to watch some real football Neb/Wis on College Gameday, ESPN. Are the Uteys on VS. again, LOL. The funny thing about Utey football is, when you leave SLC nobody cares. This is why you are on VS. Utah does have scoreboard on BYU (Not Nebraska), but BYU has ESPN, worldwide fans, and soon the better BIG12. The PAC10.2 is very average in football and below avg in basketball.

    Go Cougs and Huskers!

  • hamaca Baton Rouge, LA
    Oct. 1, 2011 12:56 p.m.

    One of the reasons for Riley's success, as well as one reason why he's unlikely to be as successful going forward, lies in one statement hidden deep in this piece:

    "USU never game-planned for an extended dose of Nelson."

    You can bet upcoming opponents will now game plan for both, just as they did last year.

  • Uteology Fort Worth, Texas
    Oct. 1, 2011 12:35 p.m.

    Nelson looked impressive against a defense that can't hold leads and allows over 33 points per game.

    How did Nelson do against Utah's 2nd string defense?

    3 for 6, 38 yards passing and -2 yards rushing.

    The question is why wasn't USU prepared for Nelson? They had tape from the Ute game. USU should have expected that Nelson could play if Heaps continued to struggle.

    Last year Nelson proved he could run but not throw, maybe the shoulder injury made him a better passer. No idea, but thankfully BYU is going into its WAC schedule to find out.

  • Mickey Houston, TX
    Oct. 1, 2011 12:30 p.m.

    Come on all you people talking about arm strength? Does the name Ty Detmer sound familiar to you? Ty had much better accuracy then Nelson, sure, but Ty certainly didn't have a strong arm and didn't even have the mobility of Nelson. Even without the "arm strength", I'm pretty sure he turned out "alright."

  • yourstruly PAUL, ID
    Oct. 1, 2011 12:18 p.m.

    Can't pull the plug on Heaps as he has too much potential. He needs to run and get hit in the mouth to take some ownership on this team and be effective. I would bet even Jake would love to have some designed runs. I don't see accuracy being a big problem but presence in the pocket and settling for poor percentage looks instead of buying time as Riley does is a huge weakness. BYU is weak at running back and should always have a slot and at least too wideouts on every down. Gotta fault Doman and Mendenhall for that.
    The Hill kid from Highland in Pocatello is the future at QB for BYU. BEST pure athlete BYU will see since STEVE Young. Saw him get three dunks in half of a basketball game. Stronger than linebackers and fastest man on field type of athlete with legitimate arm. I know the guy who recruited him to Stanford and he told me that he has big time NFL safety athletic ability.

  • flatlander Omaha, NE
    Oct. 1, 2011 11:53 a.m.

    Interesting that Doman had to ask Bronco if he could put Riley in and that Bronco wasn't the one who suggested it. That doesn't show much confidence in his offense coordinator/quarterback coach to make game decisions, substitutions etc. Maybe Bronco has more of a hold on the offense than we have thought.

  • onebigdaddy Dillon, CO
    Oct. 1, 2011 11:52 a.m.

    Heaps should have red-shirted for 2 years as did most of the the previous great BYU QB's or gone on a mission.

    The kid [as of today] is not ready for big-time college football - you can not teach experience - Nelson has it & Heaps will probably come through.

    Being a Cougar alum - but growing up about 5 miles north of the USU campus - I have to hope/wish the best for the Aggies.

  • mdp Bountiful, utah
    Oct. 1, 2011 11:42 a.m.

    I hope the golden child learns about touch and heart from the stud.

  • justhinkaboutit Bountiful, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 11:41 a.m.

    Mendenhall needs to send jake on a mission. Put his papers in now. Two years from now... He can come back, in the mean time, Riley can play one year, and then Jake can mysteriously come home early... Or maybe we can sneak the other Nelson boy down to BYU to play a year before he goes on his mission. Either way, Jake needs time to mature. He is a 19 year old kid trying to play with a bunch of 24 and 25 year-olds. A mission would do that boy some good, and I am not talking the spiritual type.

  • BigCougFan Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 11:31 a.m.

    I suppose the big question is "Has Riley earned the starting QB position for the next game?"

  • eagle Provo, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 11:30 a.m.

    It is important, especially for the BYU coaches, to really analyze what is going on. As for the BYU fans, who knows.

    1) Heaps hasn't lived up to the hype. He's regressed. He has no touch. Arm strength is NFL material but a lot is lacking.
    2) Nelson added much to the game last night. He brought something different to the game, a spark. He was inspired.
    3) However, much of the final drive was luck combined with bad play by Utah State. You can't take away from what BYU accomplished but to transfer this over to future games is a stretch.
    4) BYU coaches can't give up on Heaps but I think Lark and perhaps Munns can't be ruled out going forward.
    5) Nelson will likely get the start next week. What is scary is future games against soft games might mask Nelson's true abilities, or lack thereof.
    6) When spring ball comes around, a TRUE battle must ensue and Lark/Munns must be a part of that competition. No QB can be "deemed starter. I think naming any QB going into spring practice is crazy. Even that stud Idaho HS product should be in the mix.

  • slcftball Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 11:04 a.m.

    You have to go with Riley.

    Jake is a big boy Cougarclaws. If you forget, go listen to all his comments the last 2 years. His ego and morale will be just fine in time. Thru practice and hard work. Like breaking up with your girlfriend...it hurts the nextbday but in time it gets better. He just needs to work and play in practice. He would laugh at you critisicizing his demeanor.

    I would go Riley and get Lark some time. I don't know what else Lark can do to at least not get a shot. If a DB gets burned orbwell didn't perform repeatedly, you replace him. Look at Tom Brady hoping for a chance when Bledsoe screwed up. The rest is histtory. happens a ton in College. Look at Texas this year.

    Hurts, but it's time to shelf Heaps.

  • Cougar Claws Lindon, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 10:47 a.m.

    You're right, he is the man of the hour, but that's the problem right now guys. Be careful what you wish for though. Riley played lights out last night, but it was ONE game. ONE game, remember that. What if Riley lays an egg himself in the coming weeks? USU didn't game plan for Riley and other teams will. Don't forget that Riley also gifted the Utes with a touchdown. It is not like he is this flawless QB, either. He has heart to be sure and some ability, and guts, but the guts could get him in some serious trouble against good teams. Remember Air Force last year?

    What kills me is that Jake has played with guts before, particularly against the Utes last year. I don't know what has been wrong this year. I hope the coaches make the right decision.

    And for those of you saying "be fair to Riley," Lark and Munns have been with the program longer. Was bringing Nelson in fair to those guys?

  • Bluewombat8 Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 10:36 a.m.

    If Riley is the QB for the rest of the year I dont know if i can watch. Although he helped pull it out last night he is still one of the worst QB's BYU has ever had

  • eagle Provo, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 10:35 a.m.

    The best QB in Utah Valley is neither Jake Heaps or Riley Nelson. It is Chase Hansen at Lone Peak and unfortunately for the Cougs he's heading to the Utes. I hope that Utah State can start winning some games. I would hate their QB to get too discouraged and transfer. I don't know how they found Keeton but this kid is a player and if he stays at Utah State, he'll be the QB that is being talked about most in the next three years/

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 9:58 a.m.

    I was really disappointed when they brought Riley in to get the first down and he almost made a touchdown. Then they pulled him out and let Jake get the touchdown that Riley had earned. I felt so bad for Riley. It was really unfair. I'm so glad that Riley was given a chance to come back and show what he was made up.

    Jake has a great arm, but he may just be a little too young. He doesn't seem to be handling the pressure very well. It's too bad we didn't have Riley in the Texas and Utah games. The outcome might have been a lot different. I think it's time to give Riley the chance and let Jake wait another year or two. Redshirting him next year would be a good idea.

    Riley is the hero and the man of the hour. Go Riley and Go Cougs!

  • Hawkyo SYRACUSE, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 9:55 a.m.

    Great comeback, I hope the cougs continue to figure things out. We still have a tough game at TCU and at Hawaii coming up later this year. We'll have to bring/have our A game.

  • Frozen Chosen Savage, MN
    Oct. 1, 2011 9:53 a.m.

    BYU has a big problem - Nelson is the man of the hour but he is not a D1 college passer. His inability to throw the deep ball will severely limit BYU's offense if he is the starter.

    On the other hand, Heaps has the arm but appears to have lost the team, which I've heard from one of BYU's starters. His in ability to make the correct read is troubling.

    Even worse, I have little confidence in Bronco or Doman to make the right call. This season could get ugly...

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 9:30 a.m.

    @ Tomahawk Red

    What game did you watch? USU din't deserve their first score, using your logic, because a couple defenders missed their assignments so the 80-yard run was a "fluke." It "wasn't earned." BUNK. You need to see what actually happens, not what you want to see happen through your crimson-colored glasses. Your posts indicate an amazing lack of understanding regarding football and the factys speak for themselves. BYU had better stats than USU, they led twice during the game (the most important time was when the clock read 0:00 in the fourth quarter), and the came from behind to win. USU, on the other hand, was ahead with 3 minutes to go and quit playing defense, gave up a 96-yard scoring drive, and lost the game (AGAIN). You, sir, didn't see the same game as anyone else because of your distorted views. Maybe you should watch Utah and high school games only. You'd probably say Bingham dominated Lone Peak, too.

  • majmajor Layton, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 9:21 a.m.

    I think that Nelson doesn't have Heap's potential (great arm strength...), but Heaps doesn't have Nelson's heart, courage, nor his ability to add some motivation to the team.

    Last night, Nelson earned a shot at starting for the Cougs. Heaps may some day be a great quarterback, but right now the team is responding better to Riley.

    Team chemistry usually matters more than the individual skills of the quarterback.

  • Uteanymous Salt Lake City, Utah
    Oct. 1, 2011 9:08 a.m.

    Tomahawk Red

    "Wow I gotta tell you..."

    is you're one jealous little troll who simply can't appreciate a great individual performance when it's not associated with a certain team up north.

    Coming off the bench in a scene straight out of Hollywood, Riley engineered a game-winning, 96-yard scoring drive that was a thing of beauty to anyone who appreciates the game of football.

  • BigRich Orem, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 9:01 a.m.

    Tomahawk Red "No sir, that winning touchdown was not deserved."

    That doesn't even make sense. That would be the same as saying Utah didn't deserve the win last year because BYU muffed the field goal to win it. The game of football is filled with twists and turns, mistakes and crazy bounces of the ball, and the team that can make the most of its opportunities is the one who wins. If a team can drive the length of the field in the last two minutes and score a touchdown, they deserve the win simply because the opposing defense was unable to stop the drive. The games was there for the Aggies to win had the defense done so.

  • What in Tucket? Provo, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 8:57 a.m.

    Mr. Nelson showed himself to be one tough kid. Friday night games means many bucks for BYU. It was the only FB game on last night. Not one of BYU's opponents this year play before TV today if I read it right including Utah.

  • MizzouBlue Carthage, MO
    Oct. 1, 2011 8:54 a.m.

    No disrespect to Jake, but Nelson brought life back into the Coug's offense last night. Plus, his leadership and enthusiasm motivated the defense to play harder as well. You could see the team fighting on both sides of the ball to pull out the win. And, like Riley said, the last TD had a lot of luck tied to it when the ball was tipped into Mathews' hands. But,on the flip side, momentum had clearly swung in the BYU's favor and the players took advantage of it. Way to go Cougs!!

  • Utehaterforlife Syracuse, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 8:53 a.m.

    Jake Heaps will start next week, even Nelson knows that.

  • yourmomgoestocollege Las Vegas, NV
    Oct. 1, 2011 8:38 a.m.

    The backup quarterback is always the most popular man on the team. Very happy for Nelson, but when defenses start game planning for him and force him to beat them with the pass, the fanbase will be calling for Heaps to return, or maybe even for Lark.

    Luckily for him, they are in the soft part of the schedule, so maybe he continues to do well.

  • deseret pete robertson, Wy
    Oct. 1, 2011 8:36 a.m.

    cougar claws --- If the football team has the same mind set as you --- we will lose most of the remaining games.

  • JapanCougar Apo, AP
    Oct. 1, 2011 8:23 a.m.

    It looks like playing Utah State over the past 2 years has served to help BYU make needed personnel changes. Last year it was at Defensive Coordinator, this year QB....?

    Actually, I think Heaps will probably finish the season as the starter, but riding the bench for a few quarters may be the best thing that happens to him all season. Hopefully he'll calm down on those 3rd down and red-zone throws.

    I like how Riley was able to scramble and go back to first-option receivers without staring them down the entire route.

    Needed win!

  • defibman Syracuse, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 7:55 a.m.

    It is time to apply the "FULL-NELSON" on the rest of the teams we play this year.

    Go Riley,

    Go Cougs!

  • WinSum Rexburg, ID
    Oct. 1, 2011 7:49 a.m.

    Very impressive come-back performance. USU is a very good team and looked to be in control. Riley's performance reminded me of a young Gifford Nielson's reserve role and come-back over New Mexico....many years ago and an amazing experience with SMU by Jim McMahon in the Holiday Bowl.

    Jake Heaps has great skills, but is struggling and maybe....just maybe....the coaches have given him too much slack to be QB and "team spokesman" on every national venue and media outlet.....has probably put too much pressue on a young sophomore...??? Heaps will be ok, just possibly put under way too much pressure.....

    That said: USU and Utah have looked great and deserve our respect and support as an area....I would also include BSU....we have some excellent programs in the area.

  • Where's Stockton ??? Bowling Green, OH
    Oct. 1, 2011 7:47 a.m.

    Riley did a great Job taking the game away from the Aggies...Now then to the real problem at the core. Doman still needs to address and start fine tuning his play calling. What he is showing still looks too much like Robert Anae's...totally lacking in an aggressive multiple crossing route passing attack that opens up the entire field. He needs to study and borrow from a couple of his other predicessors like Chow and Scovil and design his own signature passing offense and not relying quite as heavily on his/Anae's running schematic which btw... will also benefit and become even more effective with improvement in learning and developing a passing attack that maximises multiple receivers running the full gamit of possible routes and a quarterback who can check off and read all of his recievers. That's a big/tall order... but if Heaps, Nelson or any other of BYU's talented quarterbacks are ever going to amount to anything or even live up to thier known potential then Doman needs to also develop and perform at a higher level...as a coach as well.

  • MesaAZ Cougar MESA, AZ
    Oct. 1, 2011 7:45 a.m.

    Riley will make Doman look like a great Offensive Coordinator. Riley is the QB the rest of the season.

  • sdavis1960 Rexburg, ID
    Oct. 1, 2011 7:42 a.m.

    If this is Jake's mission, maybe it's time for a transfer?

  • Gary Kinney Huntington Beach, CA
    Oct. 1, 2011 7:23 a.m.

    Nice job Mr. Nelson. Nice comeback win! Still not enthusiastic about the Cougars play. Diluigi is NOT an inside the tackles kind of runner, why do they keep trying it? Keep trying to get him one on one with a linebacker and use that speed. Last thought...Doesn't BYU have a Dress and Grooming standard? Riley Nelson, cut your hair. You look like "Sunshine" from the movie Remember the Titans.

  • md Cache, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 7:03 a.m.

    Riley is a classy kid. I still don't get the comments about wobbly passes. He can throw the ball. Look at his high school record. It seems his kid brother, DJ (USU commit, no less) is following in his footsteps. That kid has thrown 27 TDs and ran for 14TDs so far this year at Logan High School, with NO interceptions. I think we need to give them credit for their skills.

  • NeilT Clearfield, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 6:56 a.m.

    Time to bench Heaps and start Riley. Enough said.

  • goinfishn Orem, Utah
    Oct. 1, 2011 6:44 a.m.

    Great win for BYU hard loss for USU. A week ago I said Heaps needed to sit for a quarter or two... Maybe that needs to be extended to a game or two. Heaps will someday be a great BYU QB not sure when that might happen. The coaches have big chore to pick the starting QB for the next game.

    Oh,the fish are a bitting at the berry!

    Go Cougars!

  • East Coast Coug BELMONT, MA
    Oct. 1, 2011 5:28 a.m.

    Riley showed the X Factor tonight that we have been waiting for Jake to display. He has earned the right to start the next game.

    Jake has been hurried into the starting role and spending some time seasoning--building his confidence, overcoming the amped-up jitters, and settling down will allow him to become the QB he has the potential to be. With Riley's performance and toughness, it is hard not to look back to Texas and wonder, What if....?

    It took Doman way too long to realize this was the right move (rookie mistake, perhaps) and have the guts to make the change in the face of the Jake Heaps Hype Machine but at least he got there. Now maybe the Blue can get there too.

  • Somecommonsenseplease LOGAN, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 3:16 a.m.

    How much longer are we going to keep up this charade?

  • Cougar Claws Lindon, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 2:30 a.m.

    I'll admit I was surprised. Good job Riley!

    I still feel bad for Heaps. Fans let's try to be a little nicer to him. I'm worried about him right now.

    The first priority for the Cougs right now is to win. Let's be honest, outside TCU and maybe Hawaii, the rest of the games are glorified scrimmages. Do we really need Riley Nelson to beat those teams? We could probably split time with the QBs the rest of the year and still win the rest of our games. I think it is important just for Jake's morale. With that in mind, maybe it would be good to redshirt Heaps next year and still have him around for two more years to give him a fair shake to master Doman's offense. We'll see how things go in the offseason.

  • InCogNeatO Logan, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 1:21 a.m.

    It is funny to hear that everybody is a Riley fan, considering how maligned he has been by everybody on these boards and by the author of this article. Nice to see that you have noticed that he plays with heart. All you were interested in for the last 18 months has been Heap's arm strength; guess you have grown tired of watching balls hit the dirt with great velocity.

    Harmon can't help but hand out backhanded compliments to Nelson, and what an opportune time to give Heaps a little chin-music to boost your readership. This place is such an echo chamber: 1) watch game, 2) decide on a platitude, 3) regurgitate it on the boards so people think that you might know something about the sport you profess to love. Being on the Nelson bandwagon right now is the most obvious move for a cougar-fan since cheering for Heaps in the 2 QB system last year. You'll have a new opinion and a new axe to grind in a few days, like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. A quality kid like Nelson isn't deserved by such a fan base.

  • Waipahuboy WAIPAHU, HI
    Oct. 1, 2011 1:03 a.m.

    Former Aggie Nelson had added incentive to go out a winner tonight...he had the proverbial "fire in the belly" playing against USU, while JH showed why he should ride the pine for awhile.

    BYU may be better off offensively with a more mobile QB, at any rate. Glad they pulled the trigger and gave ANY of their serviceable backups a shot at unseating the incumbent. Despite the number of cupcakes left on their slate - except for TCU and Hawai'i - the Cougars may continue to struggle offensively. And they gotta play better D as well, esp. in the second half of games. And let's not forget ball security and play of BYU's special teams.

  • Ted H. Midvale, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 12:37 a.m.

    Nightmare scenario for Aggie fans: riley nelson caps amazing comeback win after another epic meltdown with lucky touchdown in final seconds. No waking up from this one Aggies. I used to be a big Byu and usu fan. The constant little brother hatred over recent years has changed my outlook on the Aggies. I hope turbin continues to tear it up. I hope keeton keeps up his great play. And I hope for Aggie fans these unbelievable choke jobs continue. Your bitterness puts a big smile on my face. Thanks Aggies you are the best. Look on the bright side though this is the most attention you will get all season. We may forget about you until next year and Byu may go onto lose several more games but your attitude towards Byu makes tonight very special. I absolutely love it.

  • sammyg Springville, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 12:27 a.m.

    By the sheer numbers of Utesie troll comments on the game stories it's been confirmed that ESPN noticed a spike in BYU game viewership this evening in the Salt Lake market.

    You guys prove it day in and day out that BYU football makes a difference in everyone's life! Thanks for watching and caring enough to comment.


  • So. Cal Reader Escondido, CA
    Oct. 1, 2011 12:13 a.m.

    Re: CougFaninTX "Welcome to QB controversy version 2012." Sorry, but no controversy at all. In 1 1/2 quarters, Nelson did what Heaps has failed to do all season. It's very troubling to see Heaps' regression after his strong finish to last season. Nelson breathed some much needed life to a lifeless offense. And how refreshing to have a receiver other than Apo or Hoffman catch the ball. Welcome to to the offense, McKay Jacobson. Another big difference between Nelson and Heaps. Nelson does not throw a "beautiful" ball, but he goes though all of his progressions. Watch Heaps. He routinely zeros in on one receiver (Apo or Hoffman) and is so easily defensible. And when's the last time, the stadium was chanting "Heaps" like they were chanting "Riley Nelson"!

  • Tomahawk Red North Salt Lake, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 12:11 a.m.

    Wow I gotta tell you...

    Amazed by the endless scores of Y fans dumping their trash all over Heaps.

    Before the season started, a BYU fan would've cut your head off if you suggested benching him. Heisman, O'Brien, Manning. All that?


  • Tomahawk Red North Salt Lake, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 12:10 a.m.

    The problem with that final drive is... it wasn't earned.

    Take away that 40-yard hail mary ugly ducking... and BYU loses this game.

    And that hail mary pass was a bonafide fluke.

    No sir, that winning TD was not deserved.

  • Kyle loves BYU/Jazz Provo, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 12:03 a.m.

    Jake has a great arm but Riley has heart. Fans wouldn't normally storm the field for win over USU but I think everybody was inspired by Riley and who can blame the fans for wanting to get in on the act after an exciting comeback like that.

    Go Riley and the Cougs! I hope he can keep the momentum going and stay healthy.

    PS Utah State is a really good team. I hope they can learn to close out games. Best of luck to them.

  • CaliforniaCougar Lake Elsinore, CA
    Sept. 30, 2011 11:55 p.m.

    At the game tonight. Amazing.

    I have been in the Jake Heaps camp for a long time, probably more than most. I think it's time to give the ball back to Riley Nelson. If Nelson keeps the job the rest of the year, then it might be a good idea for Heaps to redshirt next year during Nelson's senior year. Nelson looked great tonight. Heaps didn't.

  • BYUfaninWashSt Everett, WA
    Sept. 30, 2011 11:50 p.m.

    To Jake's credit, he cheered on Riley & teams' success from the sideline.

  • CougFaninTX Frisco, TX
    Sept. 30, 2011 11:39 p.m.

    Welcome to QB controversy version 2012.

  • kevo Saratoga Springs, UT
    Sept. 30, 2011 11:35 p.m.

    Very impressive. I don't care if you're a USU or BYU fan (or Ute fan for that matter), that was an awe-inspiring drive at the very end. That's football at its best: 96 yard drive in less than 2 minutes to win the game with a touchdown, not a field goal, a touchdown. Incredible.

    I'm not hearing anything from the Aggie fans who were trash talking all week. It's very nice. But I have to say, this new Utah State team is fun to watch. Wish them the best.

  • SoCalTrueBlue San Diego, CA
    Sept. 30, 2011 11:12 p.m.

    Riley rocks. Period. End of story.