PROVO, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - The BYU football team scored six touchdowns from three different quarterbacks and defeated in-state opponent Weber State 45-13 Saturday afternoon at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
"I think we handled the game and the week maturely. We were very workman-like and methodical and we had a nice balance offensively between running and scoring," head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "I thought we started the game slowly in the first quarter but then it picked up as the game went on."
Riley Nelson completed 18 of 29 for 244 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Nelson’s 244 yards in the first half is a career high in a half for the quarterback. Nelson did not play in the second half because of back spasms, but he says it is nothing serious.
"It was the coaches decision," Nelson said. "They asked me how I feel. I said, 'I'm ready to go,' but they felt like I wasn't moving as they'd like me to move. But the plan going in was to get both James Lark and Taysom Hill work."
Nelson said he could have gone back in the game if necessary, but it wasn't.
Junior Cody Hoffman, who missed most of the Washington State game because of a leg contusion, led the receiving corps with seven catches for 115 yards and a touchdown, with 110 yards coming in the first half.
"It feels good to be back," Hoffman said. "To be out there and help the team, make plays when they need it, I was just feeling good again."
Senior Michael Alisa led the rushing attack with 53 yards on 11 attempts and one touchdown. BYU’s offense rolled up 532 yards with 307 yards coming through the air and 225 on the ground.
Preston Hadley led a stout BYU defense with nine tackles while junior Spencer Hadley finished with a career-high two sacks. The Cougar defense finished the day with six sacks and nine tackles for loss, holding Weber State to just 254 total yards, the eighth game in a row the defense has held an opponent under 300 total yards.
"I don't think we should be satisfied," said Hadley. "Just being realistic, that's not the best team we've played. To give up two touchdowns is too much."
After Weber State’s defense halted the Cougars on its first two drives, Nelson went to work engineering a 9-play, 90-yard touchdown drive. Completing a perfect 5 for 5 on the drive, Nelson found Hoffman in one-on-one coverage for a 37-yard touchdown reception to put BYU up 7-0 with 3:19 remaining in the first quarter.
On the next play, junior Daniel Sorensen forced a fumble and recovered the ball to put the offense right back on the field. The Bulldogs answered with their own fumble recovery on their 11-yard line to keep the Cougars out of the endzone.
It took BYU just under two minutes into the second quarter to find the endzone for its second time. Alisa got the offense moving with a 21-yard rush before redshirt freshman Alex Kuresa pulled down a pass for 27 yards. Freshman Taysom Hill entered the game to finish the four-play drive with a two-yard touchdown run on the quarterback keeper. BYU’s first rushing score of the 2012 season put the Cougars up 14-0.
Facing third and nine, junior Richard Wilson hauled in a 32-yard pass across the middle to keep another Cougar touchdown drive alive. Later in the series, Alisa ran in an eight-yard touchdown to extend BYU’s lead, 21-0, with 4:15 left to play in the half.
Junior JD Falslev found his footing in the second half for a 33-yard punt return to set up the Cougar offense before breaking away on a run for 53 yards on the ensuing drive. Senior James Lark hit Friel in the endzone for his first career touchdown pass from two yards out to put BYU up 28-0 with 8:42 on the clock.
Weber State got on the board with a touchdown but missed the extra point and BYU added a field goal to make the score 31-6 to cap off the third quarter.
Lark had a career day finishing 7 for 10 for 45 yards and a touchdown. Lark also scored on his feet with a six-yard rushing touchdown two minutes into the fourth quarter to pad BYU’s lead 38-6.
Both teams exchanged touchdowns in the fourth. Hill pushed into the endzone late in the fourth for his second rushing touchdown of the day after marching down the field 66 yards. Weber State had the final score of the game, a one-yard rush with 50 seconds remaining to close the gap to 45-13.
"I think we took big strides forward," said Falslev. "We still have a lot of room to improve, but we did a lot better job this time of taking care of the ball."
The Cougars next play arch rival Utah September 15th at Rice-Eccles Stadium.