(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah - On Senior Night, the BYU football team overpowered the New Mexico State Aggies for a 42-7 win at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday.
Quarterback Jake Heaps
completed 21 of 36 passes for 238 yards and tied a career-high with four touchdowns. Three seniors, Matt Marshall
, Matthew Edwards
and Bryan Kariya
, scored touchdowns and BYU (8-3) held New Mexico State (4-7, 2-3) to just 249 total yards, a season low for the Aggies.
"I think it was the team's strongest performance, collectively," head coach Bronco Mendenhall
said. "The offense has been very explosive. Jake managed the game well and it was just another strong showing. My team continues to improve."
Senior linebacker Jadon Wagner
forced a fumble and recovered another fumble in addition to four tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss and one sack. Defensive back Preston Hadley
tied for a team-high with seven tackles to go along with two pass breakups. Linebacker Brandon Ogletree
also had seven tackles.
"I think we’re improving and I think we have a very good football team," Mendenhall said. "I’m anxious to play whoever is left on our schedule and who ever we can play at the highest level. We continue to gain momentum and play better football."
On the Aggies first drive of the game, Wagner got a big hit on New Mexico State’s quarterback and forced a fumble that was recovered by senior linebacker Jameson Frazier
at the BYU 48-yard line. The Cougars capitalized on the takeaway with a 4-yard touchdown run from Kariya at the end of the drive to take a 7-0 lead with 5:38 left in the first quarter.
After Heaps threw an interception, the Aggies were able to find the end zone on a 3-yard pass to even up the score at 7-7 with 9:40 left in the second quarter.
BYU went ahead 14-7 with a 15-play, 90-yard touchdown drive. Heaps hit Apo on a short pass in the flat and Apo did the rest, taking it 20 yards into the end zone for the score with 3:25 left in the second quarter.
Apo caught his second touchdown pass three minutes later. JD Falslev
returned a punt 17 yards to set the Cougars up with a short 46-yard field. To complete the drive, Heaps connected with Apo for a 9-yard gain and the freshman receiver stretched for the goal line and got the touchdown. BYU took the 21-7 lead into the break.
Apo's two-touchdown game was the first of his career. The redshirt freshman finished with 66 yards receiving on five receptions. Falslev added a career-high 42 yards receiving.
Two Cougar seniors with limited playing time were able to score touchdowns down the stretch for the Cougars. Matt Marshall
, primarily the holder on field goals took over at quarterback in the wildcat formation and ran for a 2-yard touchdown. Tight end Matthew Edwards
, the grandson of legendary BYU coach LaVell Edwards, caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Heaps to give BYU a 35-7 lead with 3:14 left in the third quarter.
Heaps picked up his fourth touchdown pass of the game when he hooked up with Falslev on a 27-yard strike over the middle of the field. The Cougars took a 42-7 lead with 7:30 remaining and held New Mexico State scoreless the rest of the way.
BYU will take a week off and go back on the road to play the Hawaii Warriors in the final regular-season game on Saturday, Dec. 3 at 2:30 p.m. HT (5:30 p.m. MT) and will be televised live on ESPN2.