BYU football notebook: Cougars' last, decisive drive a classic

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  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Oct. 3, 2011 5:37 p.m.

    Rexburg Reader,

    Better teams win when the game is on the line. Teams play their best at this point. This would be like saying BYU is better than Texas.


    Are you a Jay Hawk?

  • Rexburg Reader Rexburg, ID
    Oct. 3, 2011 4:40 p.m.

    BYU fans, if you're depending on Nelson to turn your season around, don't hold your breath. Nelson's vastly different style of play was initially effective because USU wasn't prepared for it, as the defense had prepared for Heaps in practice. That often happens when a running QB comes in for a pocket passer. And let's not forget, without two inexplicably lucky plays and USUs safety being controversially thrown out of the game, the Aggies would be celebrating right now! Also, although he was effective in the latter part of the USU game, its clear Nelson isn't a pure passer. Once a team has a week to prepare for Nelsons style of play, it won't be long until youre booing him, like you did Heaps. Truth is USU is a better team than BYU and has been for a couple years!

  • Striker Omaha, NE
    Oct. 3, 2011 12:34 p.m.

    "No team in the western U.S. is even close to Turbin."

    You're kidding, right? I've watched a lot of football this season, and I've seen far more impressive backs than Turbin...even in the West.

    Riley should get a trophy for that drive and that game. Would have been fun to see him do that at Texas.

  • New to Utah PAYSON, UT
    Oct. 3, 2011 4:05 a.m.

    Riley Nelson electrified the crowd with his take no prisoner mentality. His running right up the gut on USU was the spark the cougars needed to get back into the game. Riley Nelson earned the quarterback position by bringing out the best in the whole team.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    Oct. 2, 2011 11:14 p.m.

    Yep! Bench Heaps, than redshirt him next year. Nelson and Lark can finish this and next year. Heaps will still have two years to play after that.

  • CougarOnTheProwl Murray, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 9:04 p.m.

    Probably one of the best endings I have seen to a game in a long time. Riley showed alot of heart and made me more of a believer in him. BYU found a way to win and thats all that matters. As for USU, they have a good team they just need to learn how to finish. Turbin is a class act and a great talent who will be playing in the nfl.

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 8:55 p.m.

    Requirements before posting on this thread..

    You must check spelling before hitting "Add your comment".

  • Bluto Sandy, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 8:51 p.m.

    Requiremenst to be a BYU Quarterback.

    You must be Tough.
    You must have Grit.
    You must be a "Football" player first and foremost.
    You must run for yardage and not look for a soft spot to slide.
    You must be able to take a hit, and Enjoy it!
    You must give as good as you get.
    You must inspire your team mates by Example.
    You must tackle the defender who just picked you off, especially when you're just 2 yards away.
    You must check your receivers.
    You must read defenses.
    You must not have happy feet.
    You must avoid 3 and outs.
    You must pass with touch.
    You must not telegraph your passes.
    You must never treat your starting job as just a mere stepping stone to your much anticipated NFL career.
    You must never wear paste-on war paint.
    You must not have a buzz cut.
    You must not wear an Alan Iverson sleeve.
    You must cry when you lose, preferably behind close doors.
    You must throw up before every game. (see Steve Young).
    You must pay your Dues.
    You msut Sit, Observe and Learn, before assuming the Mantle.
    You must not allow Coaches to Annoint you too soon.

  • SoUtHapa Saint George, Utah
    Oct. 2, 2011 8:22 p.m.

    You beat me to it regarding USAlovers mission comment. However, no one can blame anyone for not knowing. That wedding was anything but heavily publicized.

  • Floyd Johnson Broken Arrow, OK
    Oct. 2, 2011 7:18 p.m.


    I am sure that Jake and his wife will take that into coonsideration.

  • Well_that_didnt_work DAYTONA BEACH, FL
    Oct. 2, 2011 6:43 p.m.

    good drive- lucky catch

  • CaliforniaCougar Lake Elsinore, CA
    Oct. 2, 2011 6:12 p.m.

    Keep throwing to the Tight Ends!

    The last two big BYU TDs were to Tight Ends (George and Matthews). Keep doing that.

  • USAlover Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 5:46 p.m.

    Maybe Heaps should go on a mission...

  • bradleyc Layton, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 5:17 p.m.

    Awesome comeback Cougars. Riley Nelson should start this next week. Jake needs to watch and learn what leadership is all about. Riley called audibles, he was intense and looked awesome.... little bit like coach Doman during his senior year.

  • cougarNV Las Vegas, NV
    Oct. 2, 2011 5:05 p.m.

    For a Change, Mr. Harmon said it correctly in his view.

    "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!!!!!

  • JDL Magna, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 5:02 p.m.

    When Nielson entered the game I was nervous but what I witnessed was impressive and something Jake Heaps has to learn. Nielson is a leader in every sense of the word. His work ethic, his passion, his competitiveness, his sportsmanship, and more.

    It was evident to me that when Heaps was asked to run on a designed draw type play, as soon as the hit came he cowered and gave up the play. His confidence and fire was non existent.

    When Riley came into the game the receivers were making one handed grabs for first down and flying to the ball for long gains and drive saving plays. The offensive line was the offensive line we were told they were and the energy was elevated from 4 to 10.

    This was a fantastic move by Doman.

    BYU has great talent and experience this year but with all due respect to Heaps, he is not the leader yet but this will hopefully be the catalyst Heaps needs to be successful and I'm glad they didn't give him an interview.

  • BYUBrasilFan Kearns, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 4:54 p.m.

    And that is the reason, I believe, BYU has struggled on offense... the first touchdown caught by a tight end since 2009! What was the reason BYU played so well offensively from 2006 - 2009? They got their tight ends heavily involved. I wonder why the coaching staff has gone away from involving the tight ends when it has been proven to be A HUGE KEY to BYU's passing game in recent years and in years past.

  • Veritas Aequitas Fruit Heights, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 4:41 p.m.

    Riley Nelson was great at the end of the game.

    I can't help but wonder if Riley is just a "change up" pitch, difficult to hit at different times, but easy to adjust to, or can he play a whole game?

    If BYU starts Riley, how many quaterback draws are going to be run "successfully" per game?

    How many fluttering passes will recievers go back and get, or be defelected into the arms of a BYU tight end?

    Big choices to be made.

  • LeonardL Sandy, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 4:16 p.m.

    Mormons are tough we don't like to loose, we fought to get to Utah, we fought after we got here, and our BYU Football program fought to gain national recognition. We expect to see the quarterback leading our University to fight and WIN!! Riley Nelson has that tough attitude that is expected from us and our quarterback.

  • EnglishAlan Rugeley, Staffs
    Oct. 2, 2011 3:00 p.m.

    So how does it feel to have had a Brit tell you what was needed at QB. I said after the Texas game that Nelson was the way forward, as Heaps needs to find a backbone. Nelson showed yesterday what he can do.

  • Southern Fan st. george, ut
    Oct. 2, 2011 1:18 p.m.

    We know how byu loves "preferred walk-ons", maybe they should start a new program starring Heaps called...Preferred TRANSFERS".

  • CaptainL PROVO, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 1:15 p.m.

    Heaps has alot to learn and alot of improving to do but he does have more potential / talent than Nelson. That being said , I hope they still start Heaps so he can continue to grow and improve, Nelson showed he can really be a spark and he moved the team well, he still doesn't have much of an arm and we are a passing team (usually). Keep working with Heaps but be ready to bring in Nelson if Heaps struggles. Alot of these teams still left on the schedule should be teams Heaps can find success against and regain his confidence. If Heaps continues to struggle, I would like to see Lark get some playing time.

  • bestday EAGLE RIVER, AK
    Oct. 2, 2011 12:54 p.m.

    I just hope that all of these readers calling for Heaps' head and Nelson to start are not the same ones doing the EXACT OPPOSITE last year at this time. Just let the coaches do their job. I'm really glad that it's a decision I don't have to make after last game.

  • FYI Taylorsville, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 12:49 p.m.

    @The Rock
    You are not the only one I have seen comment on Nelson being a senior. He is a junior. BYU would need to redshirt Heaps next year, in order for him to have 2 years of eligibity remaining as a starter. Take a look at CougFaninTX, comments above for an idea of the future QBs for the Y.

  • durwood kirby South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 11:40 a.m.

    Turbin----classy move at game's end.

  • majmajor Layton, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 11:11 a.m.

    IndianaCoug | 9:30 a.m. Oct. 2, 2011
    Bloomington, IN
    RE: majmajor
    "You're delusional if you believe that USU has players at the same talent/potential level as BYU and Utah."

    Be objective. Talk to ESPN (or the BYU coaching staff) about the quality of the USU quarterback and running backs. USU is underperforming, not over-performing. USU has the best quarterback and running backs in the State. Neither BYU, nor Utah has a running back that is even close to the top-two Aggie's.

    No team in the western U.S. is even close to Turbin. He is an outstanding college player, and is probably the only running back in the State that will start in the NFL. He is also a class act.

    BYU has the best offensive-line, defensive front-seven and punter, and the Utes have the best receivers and defensive backs in the state.

    Don't live in the past. USU needs to forget past failures, and accept their improving skill levels. They can beat everyone (except my Cougs) in the State.

    Go Cougs!

  • jakartafan Houston, TX
    Oct. 2, 2011 10:32 a.m.

    In baseball you bring in a relief pitcher when the starter is not effective, but that doesn't mean you bench the starter. You still need him and will play him when he can help the team. Jake is a talented QB who is not in a good place mentally at the moment. He needs to get his confidence and competitive fire back and start having fun playing the game again. There may be games where Riley's scrambling isn't working and we need a confident pocket passer to bail us out. I think Jake will get it together and be a successful QB. But he does need to relax and get over the hump.

  • deibu Roseburg, OR
    Oct. 2, 2011 10:15 a.m.

    Hats off to Nelson for a great spark off the bench! But Nelson said."I get asked about the games a lot and every time I say, 'It's a dogfight...That's just who we are and the way our schedule is set up, every game is going to be decided by a touchdown or less. We're ready for it for the rest of the season and I hope Cougar fans are too, because this is how it's going to be." BYU has only 2 potential dogfights [TCU and Hawaii] left on their schedule. This statement is exactly why Riley Nelson should not even be considered as the starting QB. I for one tire of BYU trying to make a dogfight where none is needed. Maybe this is the current view from the coaches as well, but if not start calling plays from the booth to win, not be in the game at the end.

  • soldier boy Bountiful, Ut
    Oct. 2, 2011 9:52 a.m.

    I attended the first game in the "New" BYU stadium in 1982. BYU led with about 2 minutes to go and Air Force had the ball on their own 2 yard line. AFA drove the 98 yards to score and win the game.

    So, sitting in the stands Friday night, when BYU had the ball on their 2 yard line with about time running out, I had the thought "Can lightning strike twice?"

    And it did.

    WHAT A GAME!!!!

  • oldcougar Orem, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 9:48 a.m.

    All I know is it was fun to watch! I had my Brazilian son-in-law (rabid soccer fan) with me. I had to do some explaining, but he had a blast! He's now a huge cougar fan! I'm back took, I guess!

  • Joe Schmoe Orem, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 9:35 a.m.

    I agree. We get NOTHING from playing a bottom feeder in the pac 10.2. Bring on Texas, Ole Miss, TCU, BSU.

  • IndianaCoug Bloomington, IN
    Oct. 2, 2011 9:30 a.m.

    RE: majmajor

    "Utah, BYU and (now) USU have the same quality players"

    You're delusional if you believe that USU has players at the same talent/potential level as BYU and Utah. BYU and Utah are always neck and neck for the top in-state recruits and always nap a few exceptional out-of-state athletes. USU gets good but not great athletes, yet somehow they still seem to perform at a very high (and continually improving) level. Credit their incredible coaching staff and underdog mentality--USU has definitely overachieved. Unfortunately they still only have a 1-3 record to show for it. Perhaps with a few of the top in-state recruits they would be 4-0 right now and nationally ranked.

  • ed in atl Duluth, GA
    Oct. 2, 2011 9:07 a.m.

    You have to use Riley just because of his toughness and intensity. But you still have to use Heaps a little in case Riley gets hurt again. But it goes to show you that BYU has the capability to play with anyone if they play with toughness, intensity and mistake free. USU did a great job and should be undefeated. Auburn just beat South Carolina. SJState beat CSU so it should be a great game next week.

  • CougFaninTX Frisco, TX
    Oct. 2, 2011 9:07 a.m.

    I have no doubt that the Cougs would have beaten the Longhorns if Nelson had been brought in somewhere in the 2nd half when it was obvious that Heaps was struggling.

    And there is no doubt that the Utah game would have been different if Nelson had been in the game. But the loss to Utah can't all be put on Heaps. The bad snap to start the game, and critical fumbles by Quezada, DiLuigi and Falslev are what led to this loss. Take away those four key turnovers and it would have been a different game.

    I admit, I was on the Heaps band wagon. The last six games of last year, he looked like he was going to be the next great BYU QB. But Nelson is the better QB at this point. I hope Nelson starts the next few games.

    For Heaps long term development, make him the back-up this year and red shirt him next year. Bring him back in 2013 for his red-shirt Junior year and hopefully he will have developed the skills he needs to be a star.

    2011-12 Nelson
    2013-14 Heaps
    2015-2016 Hill
    2017-2018 Mangum

  • IDC Boise, ID
    Oct. 2, 2011 9:03 a.m.

    Great game. Very entertaining and a BYU win.

    I love Nelson's heart and drive. I just don't know that he can throw it well enough to pull out wins week in week out. I was hoping Heaps developed faster than he has but what can you do. I still think Heaps is the way to go. Maybe put in Nelson on third downs? I just think developing Heaps is the best shot of this team being great.

  • BlueHusky Mission Viejo, CA
    Oct. 2, 2011 8:58 a.m.

    Jake Heaps looked like he was going downhill. The game is too fast for him now. Let him sit on the bench and learn. Nelson may or may not be the savior, but he needs to start until he proves he can't lead the team. I think it is clear that Jake is too young to lead this team this year.

  • yarrlydarb Ogden, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 8:55 a.m.

    Speaking of Robert Turbin and Coach Gary Anderson, Bronco Mendenhall stated: "Those kinds of things in college football say a lot about a way a team is coached and what values are being instilled. I was very impressed by that, especially in the way the game finished."

    Quarterback Riley Nelson said: "I wish them the best, I hope they compete for the WAC championship. I think they have the talent to. I believe in Coach Andersen and the players that they have. (Quarterback) Chuckie Keeton's an incredible athlete for a little freshman out there, running around making plays. Robert Turbin is an elite college football player."

    Those two statements should depict the attitude of sports. I for one am extremely happy that the Urban Meyer "team-down-south" mentality is gone from the Wasatch Front.

    Sports, and especially college sports, should be good sportsmanship as well as sporting. There is so much divisiveness in this country right now that it is very refreshing to see the attitude of good sportsmanship demonstrated by Coach Mendenhall, Riley Nelson as well as Coach Whittingham and Anderson and their respective teams effectively replace the Meyer "in-your-face" influence.

  • Doug10 Roosevelt, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 8:52 a.m.

    why was the play to go to Luigi? Did the Cougars need to fumble the last play of the game?

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    Oct. 2, 2011 8:32 a.m.

    Riley Nelson earned the starting job at BYU on Friday night. I personally am pleased to see this. He is a great athlete and really sparked the team. His running abilities totally changed how USU ran the defense and opened up the passing game. This is Riley's senior year and now that he is starting he has a good chance to at least get noticed by the NFL.

    Jake Heaps has two more years and will almost certainly develop into the kind of quarter back that everyone expects him to be.

    Give Riley a shot at the pros and give Jake a bit more time to develop. This is a win win situation.

  • majmajor Layton, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 7:55 a.m.

    "What does BYU get out of beating a bottom-feeder in the PAC 12?"

    We get a great competition! Utah, BYU and (now) USU have the same quality players. Each team has a difference philosophy, but they are our (mostly local) players. By playing each other, it allows each team to compare how it is doing with the same level of athletics.

    It allows a comparison and contrast of how to get the most out of the local players. It allows the players to display their heart and courage against similar competition. That is why these games are played.

    Outside of the military, and public safety communities athletics is the only place that Americans show a desire to act above one's needs and desires (with a few notable exceptions). Each is working toward a common goal, watching their teammates back, and friendly competition. It is like Boy Scouts with slightly more blood...

    Heart, courage, and leadership.

  • Mountanman Hayden, ID
    Oct. 2, 2011 7:32 a.m.

    Leadership! Leaders create, innovate, inspire performance and produce results, just what BYU was lacking! Luck has nothing to do with it! It all about when Nelson's preparation met the opportunity, and his leadership came through!

  • Cougar_Independence OMAHA, NE
    Oct. 2, 2011 7:02 a.m.

    Clearly, Riley Nelson is a game changer! He needs to start this week. I just wonder if the Utah game would have been different had hestarted and played the whole game?

    Go Cougars!

  • kanaka818 West Hills, CA
    Oct. 2, 2011 1:17 a.m.

    During the latter part of the game, and especially, the last drive: Now that's the Cougars I remember. The hurry up offense, like they just can't wait to confuse the opposition.

    The coaching staff at the beginning of the season said they wanted the offense to take a more measured approach. Well that hasn't been working too well. Regardless of whoever is playing quarterback, I vote for the hurry up offense along with some no huddle plays next week.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Oct. 2, 2011 12:32 a.m.

    I could enjoy seeing USU beat Utah this year. Unfortunately, they don't play each other. Whittingham has made it clear he is through playing 3 teams (but he doesn't have the final say) probably because he feels the Utes have nothing to win and everything to lose. Those teams are TCU, Air Force and Utah State. And with TCU and Air Force he likely thinks that Utah can't win most of those games; just a few every now and then.

    I kind of think the same way about BYU playing Utah. Let's not let them wear their home red colors or bring their own PAC 12 officials to Provo in two years. Or in fact, let's drop them from the schedule. What does BYU get out of beating a bottom-feeder in the PAC 12?

  • majmajor Layton, UT
    Oct. 1, 2011 10:55 p.m.

    "I believe in Coach Andersen and the players that they have. (Quarterback) Chuckie Keeton's an incredible athlete for a little freshman out there, running around making plays. Robert Turbin is an elite college football player."

    Riley Nelson is an outstanding sportsman! Great comments and play. I hope he keeps up the great attitude.

    USU played a great game, and wish them the best the rest of the season. To bad you don't play the Utes, I think you have the better team. Stomp on the WAC!

    Go Cougs!