Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Riley Nelson passed for 335 yards and came close to rallying his team to victory after trailing the San Jose State Spartans by 13 points in the fourth quarter. Nelson also turned the ball over three times in scoring position, made several errant throws, and suffered a painful injury.
The BYU coaching staff kept Nelson in the game for every offensive play. Was that the right thing to do?
BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL put the question to site visitors after the game: Should the BYU coaches have made a change at quarterback during the San Jose State game? The overwhelming majority voted "Yes." How overwhelming? Try 83 percent.
I have disagreed with the poll results before, even when the overwhelming majority supported one response. Not this time. I absolutely agree that James Lark should have played.
I was ready to bench Nelson before the pain became blatantly obvious. In the first half, Nelson was just 7 of 15 passing. Besides being below 50 percent, Nelson's passes were inaccurate. His passing was the reason BYU scored just seven points in the first half. San Jose State was able to stuff the running plays because they were not forced to respect Nelson's passing ability.
James Lark would have taken his first snap of the game with 2:33 to play in the third quarter. This isn't hindsight speaking. That was my feeling when the game was happening. BYU had done nothing on offense for six consecutive drives, and I had seen no signs of anything changing.
Ironically, that third quarter drive starting at 2:33 in the third quarter is when the turnovers began. The next three drives ended with a fumble, interception, and a turnover on downs.
In the end, BYU lost the game. That is the worst case scenario if Lark plays quarterback. BYU had nothing to lose.
Thank you to everyone who voted. Don't forget to vote in the new poll: "What is your current level of support for Bronco Mendenhall?"
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