PROVO — Facing a New Mexico State team that entered Saturday’s game as one of the worst teams in the country in rushing defense, BYU unleashed its running game on the hapless Aggies.
Lopini Katoa ran 18 times for 155 yards and four touchdowns — the most rushing TDs by a BYU freshman — and senior Matt Hadley gained 55 yards on seven carries and scored two touchdowns to lead the Cougars to a 45-10 victory over New Mexico State.
As a team, BYU ran for 317 yards, including Riley Burt’s 61 yards, and amassed a season-high 510 yards of total offense.
That’s how the Cougars earned their sixth victory of the season to become bowl-eligible for the first time since 2016.
It all happened on a chilly Saturday night in front of a crowd of 47,505 at LaVell Edwards Stadium — the second-lowest attendance for a game since the stadium expanded in 1982.
One of the recurring themes for BYU football this season has been agonizingly slow starts. Going into Saturday’s game against New Mexico State, the Cougars had scored a total of 31 points in the first quarter.
And despite the fact it was Senior Night at LaVell Edwards Stadium; despite the fact the Cougars needed just one more win to clinch bowl eligibility; and despite the fact there’s a showdown with archrival Utah looming next week, once again, BYU sputtered in the opening period.
Then the Cougars scored 38 consecutive points.
Quarterback Zach Wilson completed 12 of 26 passes for 172 yards. Senior quarterback Tanner Mangum entered the game in place of Wilson with 14:14 left in the fourth quarter and promptly led the Cougars on a scoring drive — and another Katoa TD.
Mangum completed 1 of 3 passes for 21 yards and an interception in his final home game.
A week ago at Gillette Stadium, …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Top stories