BYU completed a shocking comeback with about 11 seconds to go en route to beating the the Utah State Aggies on Friday 27-24. The Cougars were playing generally solid defense against a good Aggies offense for most of the game but Jake Heaps and the BYU offense were getting killed (as usual). So the BYU coaching staff decided to put Riley Nelson into the game near the end of the third quarter with BYU losing 24-13. Nelson was actually the starting quarterback at USU his freshman season before leaving on a mission. Nelson decided to transfer to BYU after his mission. It was a controversial transfer — so much so that the NCAA instituted a new rule after the transfer requiring RM’s to sit out a year if they transfer after the mission. Anyway, this game seemed over before Heaps was benched and Nelson came in. BYU appeared to have no chance of coming back with Heaps at QB. But obviously BYU could come back with Nelson.
So with that I’d say BYU has a new starting QB. If Heaps wants to start again he’ll have to earn it.
Some thoughts on the game:
- Not sure what happened to Heaps but not only is he worse now than he was last year, he has been getting progressively worse every game this season. The kid was atrocious last night.
- Final QB ratings for last night: Nelson – 205, Heaps – 72
- While Bronco hasn’t named Nelson the starter yet it would be shocking if he didn’t
- Heaps weaknesses sharply contrast Nelsons strengths: Nelson is quick and tough and savvy. Heaps is molasses slow and wimpy/skittish.
- However Heaps has a great arm and Riley has a sub-par arm. Heaps could be the starter again this season if he earns it or if Nelson falls flat on his face. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a return of some of both playing down the stretch.
- The BYU defense was decent but not great last night. Too many big runs given up including an 80 yard TD run in the first play of the game. But some huge hits and stops when BYU needed them too.
- Special teams had a mediocre night. Missed a FG and there was a really bonehead punt return by Falslev near the end. But no game-losing mistakes obviously.
- Did you see how much the running game opened up when Riley came in? Defenses had to account for one more guy.
- Turns out receivers have been getting open all season. Heaps just misses them by panicking and unloading his fastball way too early. Probably because he is so slow he can’t evade even slow fat defensive linemen right now. But it appears Heaps hasn’t even been going through his progressions and looking at all receivers all season as well.
- Riley throws ducks at times but if you buy enough time guys get wide open so ducks work
- Jake has one pitch lately — the fastball. He puts so much mustard on it guys can’t always catch even when he doesn’t horribly miss them.
- Lots of easy games coming up. Will be interesting to see what the coaching staff does with the QB playing time.
Also, the rumor mill went crazy last week regarding BYU to the Big12. Based on my sorting of the rumors here is where I think things stand:
- It sounds like the Big12 and BYU have reached an agreement. Just need to put things in writing and finalize. Could happen this week.
- Rumor has it BYU’s already scheduled games with ESPN will stay intact. That includes the 12 year series just signed with Boise State.
- I doubt the rumor that Utah was trying to get 2-1 deals with BYU going forward but it is out there. However it is possible BYU-Utah could miss some years.
- Sounds like Missouri will stay in the Big12 so BYU would be team #10. WVU and Lousville most likely candidates to get the conference to 12.
And finally, watch this amusing Ode To Riley’s Hair. Made me laugh.