Well, so far, the second half of the BYU football season has played out as scripted, with some changes in the characters along the way.
The latest chapter in the 2011 saga was the Cougars’ 42-7 pasting of the Aggies of New Mexico State.
The game was mostly a yawner, with the drama kept to a bare minimum.
Let’s hand out the grades:
Jake Heaps was solid in his first start since September 30. Heaps passed for 238 yards and four touchdowns in a glorified scrimmage.
The night wasn’t perfect, however, as Heaps threw an awful out-pattern pass that was telegraphed and easily picked by the defensive back, and he missed some wide open receivers on easy deep-ball passes.
Heaps has a seriously good arm but lacks touch and timing and has yet to learn to look off a defensive back or make second and third reads.
In what sounds like a broken record, BYU backs again pushed nearly 200 yards rushing in a game that didn’t require they try really hard.
JJ DiLuigi led the way with 73 yards on 12 carries, while all the usual suspects made appearances in the backfield and averaged four-plus yards per attempt.
For the first time in many games, Cody Hoffman took a back seat to others, most notably Ross Apo who had a minor breakout game, bringing in five balls for 66 yards and two scores.
JD Falslev and McKay Jacobson were targeted more than usual and each hauled in three balls.
There’s not much to say, but these guys did everything they were supposed to. New Mexico State could only muster 90 rushing yards on 37 tries, and one big run carried most of that yardage.
And the linebackers did an excellent job picking up receivers in the flat and out of the backfield.
This New Mexico State offense has been pretty good all year and BYU limited the passing attack to just 159 yards.
That marked the lowest total of the season for the Aggies.
Riley Stephensen had, by far, his best punting game of the season, averaging 53 yards on three kicks. The return game was pretty good too.
Justin Sorensen continues to disappoint, however, missing an easy kick in the first quarter.
Bronco has proven he’s a great defensive coach.
There remains some issues in the offensive play-calling, where Brandon Doman seems to struggle to call plays for Heaps and inexplicably continues to call timing routes that have failed all season.
But overall, it was a good brush-up for the Cougars before a trip to Oahu on December 2.