(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
Las Cruces, N.M. - Junior Cody Hoffman grabbed a BYU-record five touchdown receptions and senior James Lark tossed six touchdown passes in first career start to help power BYU over New Mexico State, 50-14, Saturday at Aggie Memorial Stadium.
Hoffman pulled down 12 catches for a career-best 182 yards to push him to 1,134 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns on the season.
Senior quarterback James Lark completed 34 of 50 pass attempts for 384 yards and six touchdowns in his first career start. Lark’s 384 yards are the most by a BYU quarterback in their first career start. He is the 10th BYU signal-caller to toss at least six touchdown passes in a game.
Freshman running back Jamaal Williams led the ground-attack with 62 yards on 19 carries to become the all-time rushing yardage leader for a BYU true freshman with 744 yards this season.
The Cougars (7-5) outgained the Aggies (1-10) 520 yards and held New Mexico State to just 187 yards, including only 29 rushing yards in the 2012 regular season finale.
Senior Brandon Ogletree led the defense with 10 total tackles and three tackles for loss. Junior Kyle Van Noy contributed a career-high three sacks and five total tackles while freshman Bronson Kaufusi added another three tackles for loss and five total tackles.
After neither team was able to reach the end zone in the first quarter, the Aggies struck first just two minutes into the second quarter. New Mexico State started the quarter on BYU’s 21 and drove in on an 8-yard pass to take a 7-0 lead.
Facing 4th-and-goal, Lark hit Hoffman for a five-yard touchdown pass to put points on the board for the Cougars with 7:30 left in the second quarter. Justin Sorensen hit the left upright for his first missed PAT in his career to leave BYU behind 7-6.
The score sparked the Cougars as the defense went to work forcing a three-and-out followed by a 42-yard punt return by JD Falslev to give the ball to BYU at the NMSU 36.
A direct snap to Williams on 4th and 1 resulted in a conversion and pickup of 17 yards. Falslev capped off the drive he started, hauling in a touchdown from four yards out to take advantage of the short field. The score pushed the Cougars ahead 13-7 with 2:44 remaining until the break.
On BYU’s next possession, Lark picked up nine yards on the ground to bring up first and goal with 41 seconds to play. Hoffman pulled down his second score of the half to take a 20-7 lead into halftime.
Sorensen knocked in a 31-yard field goal to kick off the second half and extend the Cougar lead to 23-7 with 11:05 on the clock.
With 9:32 left to play in the third quarter, New Mexico State heaved a 67-yard touchdown pass down field with a juggling catch to close the gap, 23-14.
Riley Stephenson pinned the Aggies on the two-yard line on a 58-yard punt to give the BYU defense an edge. A three-and-out put the Cougar offense back on the field where Hoffman hurdled a defender and went 31 yards for a touchdown to put BYU on top 30-14 with just under four minutes left in the third.
Hoffman hauled in another two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, a six-yard grab and a career-best 64-yard catch-and-run for a score, to move the Cougars in front 43-14 after another missed PAT.
Senior fullback Zed Mendenhall pushed up the middle for another BYU score to wrap up the game 50-14.
The Cougars end the regular season with the win and next prepare for the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego Dec. 20.