Jake Heaps Leads BYU to Blowout Win Over Idaho

Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Riley Nelson left the game with a broken rib with 8:26 to play in the first quarter. Backup Jake Heaps came in and BYU scored 35 consecutive points with Heaps at the helm. The Cougars cruised to a 42-7 win.

Nelson was 4 of 7 passing for 56 yards and one touchdown when he left the game (he also had one rush for 11 yards). His final play was a 32-yard bomb to Cody Hoffman that gave BYU a 7-0 lead.

With Heaps in the game, the Cougar offense didn’t skip a beat. The very next drive, BYU moved 78 yards in nine plays capped by a 17-yard Bryan Kariya touchdown run. It was now 14-0.

After struggling with consistency early in the year when Heaps was quarterbacking the offense, the Cougars were a model of consistency under Heaps. Not even a holding penalty on the next drive could stop them. The penalty set up a 2nd and 20. Heaps calmly dropped back and hit Hoffman for 16 yards. Heaps found JD Falslev for nine more yards the next play for a first down. Kariya scored his second touchdown three plays later to give BYU a 21-0 advantage with 6:49 to play in the first half.

One week ago, this point in the game was when Idaho began their remarkable comeback from a 20-0 deficit against San Jose State. It looked like the Vandals might do the same in this one. After zero first downs all game, barring BYU penalties, Idaho quickly moved the chains twice. Idaho then shot itself in the foot with penalties, and the Cougar D stiffened to force a punt.

BYU got the ball back at its own 30-yard line with just 1:16 to play before halftime. Heaps completed two quick passes to move the ball near midfield. Following a defensive holding, Heaps hit Falslev for 22 yards. A beautiful fade pass to Hoffman followed for a 21-yard touchdown to make it a 28-0 game 13 seconds before the break.

The BYU defense had allowed -2 yards passing and just 66 yards total offense in the first half. Hoffman had his best half of football this year with six receptions for 114 yards and two touchdowns. He would not make any receptions in the second half.

The story didn’t change much in the second half. A stop by the BYU defense was followed by a touchdown—a 38-yard run by Michael Alisa. Following another stop by the defense, the Cougar O was threatening to score again. Then Heaps made his only mistake of the game. Heaps overthrew his intended receiver and the pass was intercepted. Three plays later, Idaho returned the favor with an interception by BYU cornerback Jordan Johnson at the Idaho 22-yard line. BYU gained three yards in the exchange of turnovers.

Heaps threw his second touchdown pass of the game three plays later—an 18-yard strike to Ross Apo. Heaps was now 15 of 20 for 185 yards and two touchdowns with one interception. His pass efficiency rating was 175.7. With 5:37 to play in the third quarter and BYU leading 42-0, Heaps was done.

Idaho scored on an 82-yard run the next drive, but still had -6 yards passing.

James Lark quarterbacked BYU the final 18:56 and finished 2 of 6 for 21 yards passing. He had two rushes for 12 yards. Linebacker Spencer Hadley thwarted one final scoring attempt by Idaho when he intercepted a pass at the goal line and returned it 48 yards.

PLAY OF THE GAME: Heaps to Hoffman 21-yard touchdown with 13 seconds left in the first half to make it 28-0 for BYU.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Jake Heaps, 15-20, 185 yards, 2 TD, 1 Int., Pass Efficiency: 175.7
Things I watched for:
  1. Bouncing Back. BYU bounced high. If Justin Sorensen hadn’t missed a 35-yard field goal on the opening drive of the game, BYU would have matched the 31-0 halftime lead BYU had in the 2009 Wyoming game referenced in the game preview. You know you bounced back in a resounding way when the backups are playing in the third quarter.
  2. "Not like Texas A&M." BYU scored more points than the Aggies, and won by a larger margin. BYU almost matched A&M’s offensive production (505 yards to 517). Thanks to that 82-yard run, Idaho did gain more yards (241 yards to 187 vs. A&M). I think BYU showed they are in the same class as the Aggies.
  3. Record Tracker. Cody Hoffman made a valiant effort on his one return to get the 46.5 yards he needed for the game. He returned the opening kickoff 38 yards. It was his only return of the game. With BYU already ahead 42-7 late in the third quarter, the coaches had McKay Jacobson return the only other Idaho kickoff.
  4. Special or Ordinary? The BYU special teams were closer to ordinary. Sorensen missed his two field goal attempts. Three of his seven kickoffs were touchbacks. The kick coverage on the other four were excellent. Idaho never returned a kick past the 20 yard line. One of Riley Stephenson’s two punts were good (45 yards, fair caught at the 8-yard line).
  5. Honoring Jordan Pendleton. I saw a 1 on Brandon Ogletree’s arms and on Kyle Van Noy’s sleeves. Other than that, it does not look like there was action team wide to honor Pendleton. Bronco Mendenhall should initiate something this week. Pendleton deserves it.
NEXT: New Mexico State
DATE: November 19

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at  bluecougarfootball@gmail.com


  1. "BYU almost matched A&M’s offensive production (505 yards to 517)"

    And let's not forget, BYU did most of that with their second string quarterback, and the third stringer also got a fair amount of playing time. (Granted, Jake is not your average back-up quarterback.)


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