The Cougars easily handled the New Mexico State Aggies, as we all expected. I based my call on last year, when the New Mexico State and Idaho games had the same exact score. I figured things hadn't changed much, so I guessed the result at 52-13, which was the result from this year's Idaho game. The actual score was 50-14, so it turns out that how you do against Idaho really is a good indicator of how you'll do against New Mexico State.
Here's a look back at what I wanted to see from the Cougars in this game.
The Cougars actually tallied 5 sacks against NMSU's Andrew Manley. Kyle Van Noy had three, Bronson Kafusi had two, with an assist from Ezekiel Ansah (Ziggy) on one of them. Perhaps the most impressive sack stat was a complete New Mexico State series shut down by three consecutive Cougar sacks for a total loss of 22 yards. Grade: A+
200 Rushing Yards
While this stat obviously didn't affect the outcome of this game, I was surprised by the stoutness of the Aggie run defense (at times). The Cougars only managed 136 rushing yards, as Jamaal Williams was held to just 62 yards on 19 attempts. Yeah, that's only about 3 yards per attempt. David Foote had four rushes for 52 yards, and Paul Lasike added 3 rushes for 20 yards. Grade: C
0 Turnovers Given Up
James Lark did fumble once, but unlike other BYU starting quarterbacks of late, he actually recovered the fumble himself. Lark had a 6 to none TD to interception ratio, and in 35 attempts, the Cougar rushers never gave up a fumble. Grade: A+
What we know about New Mexico State (1-11)
The Aggies performed as well as expected, being held to just 187 total yards (158 passing, 29 rushing). I'd say the most impressive feat was the fact that in the middle of the third quarter the Aggies brought the score to within 23-14 before giving up four straight touchdowns to the Cougars.
It's sad when you have only one win on a season, a ten game losing streak, and still you can't definitively say that it's been the worst season in school history. The Aggies' train of pain has not ended yet this year, as they have what we'll call a "winnable" game next week against 3-8 Texas State.
What we know about BYU (7-5)
Certainly all of the game's stats must be taken in context--this game was against New Mexico State--but the Cougars, and especially James Lark, were about as impressive as they could have been. My only complaint is that it took so long to get real separation from the Aggies. Lark led the Cougar offense to a 520 total yards (384 passing, 136 rushing). He was 34/50 passing and added the aforementioned 6 touchdowns with no interceptions. Cody Hoffman set a BYU record with 5 touchdown receptions in the game. He had 12 catches for 182 yards, for an average of 15 yards per catch. The BroncoD finished the regular season as the #3 total defense, and #6 in scoring defense.
The Cougars have nothing left to do this season but wait to find out who their opponent will be in the Poinsettia bowl. The likely choice is San Diego State (9-3), whose losses came against Washington, SJSU, and Fresno State. They're currently on a seven game winning streak, including wins over Boise State, Nevada, and Air Force.