BYU QB Race Update: And the Plot Thickens

The battle to be the next starting quarterback for the Brigham Young Cougars took a new twist this weekend. On Friday, Jason Franchuk with the Daily Herald reported that the defensive players find it more difficult to defend when junior Riley Nelson is leading the offense. On Saturday, Jake Heaps outperformed Nelson in the team’s first scrimmage. Heaps was 10-20, 156 yards, 1 TD pass. He led a 96-yard scoring drive capped by a 45-yard touchdown pass to McKay Jacobson.

Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall has said that the players on the team will have significant sway in who he names the starting quarterback. The man they accept as the leader of the team will start. A “unanimous” vote from the defense would be a huge boost to Nelson’s claim on the starting role. The defenders are the ones who can tell the coaches which quarterback is easier to stop, and which quarterback gives them more headaches.

I don’t know if Heaps got word of Franchuk’s article before the scrimmage on Saturday, but he played like he had something to prove. On the 96-yard scoring drive, 85 yards were passing yards. Heaps was 5-6 passing on the drive that was the first team offense against the first team defense. While it was Heap’s only drive ending in a touchdown, Nelson only had one touchdown drive as well. It was the second team offense against the third string defense, and there was a broken coverage on Nelson’s 35-yard touchdown toss to Jacobson. Nelson ended the day 3-6, 52 yards, 1 TD, and 2 rushes for 18 yards.

After the scrimmage, Mendenhall noted he would take a close look at the tape before saying anything about the quarterback situation, and he said he “might be able to tell you at the beginning of the week what I thought.” Stay tuned.

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