Jake Heaps overcame an early interception to throw four touchdowns. While he did miss some passes (going 21 of 36) he showed poise and confidence, staying in the pocket and taking some hits when needed. He showed precision with quick strikes while at times also showing patience, allowing for the routes to open up downfield. He finished with four touchdowns, his highest single-game total of the season. As the game wore on, Heaps simply got better and better and even produced a 15-play, 90-yard touchdown drive. He even showed flashes of Ty Detmer greatness by ducking under a pass rusher, stepping up in the pocket while keeping his eyes downfield, and connecting on a 27-yard pass to J.D. Falslev for a touchdown. It was an overall strong performance by Jake Heaps.
Running backs: B-
In his last home game at LaVell Edwards Stadium, J.J. Di Luigi led the way by rushing the ball 12 times for 75 yards. A total of five running backs saw the field and produced 179 yards on 32 carries, with an average of nearly 5.6 yards per carry. Alisa broke open a long run and nearly took it to the house on a 31-yard rush. The ground game helped control the clock and kept the Aggie defense honest, benefitting the passing game.
Wide receivers: A
Many receivers got into the action, as Heaps hit every single receiver at every offensive position during the game. Apo had his biggest game of the season, catching five passes for 66 yards. This was the first game in Apo's career in which he scored two touchdowns. Falslev added another from the slot position in what was a strong showing from the pass-catchers.
Tight ends: B-
Only three passes were caught by the tight ends, but that included senior Matthew Edwards – who is the grandson of former BYU head coach LaVell Edwards – scoring his first career touchdown. Kaneakua Friel caught two passes during the game, averaging 10 yards per catch. Overall it wasn't the best night for the Cougar tight ends, but it was a relative productive night with the opportunities that were given. Marcus Mathews and Austin Holt provided key blocks that opened up holes – one block by Mathews freed up Apo for a touchdown.
Offensive line: B+
Not much of a challenge for the big fellas up front, as the offensive line controlled the trenches as should have been expected. They held their blocks a little longer than they did against Idaho, allowing Heaps to stay in the pocket longer when needed, and opened up holes that allowed running backs to average nearly 5.6 yards a carry.
Offensive MVP goes to: Jake Heaps
Last week it was Hoffman, but this week it goes to Heaps, who tied a career high with four touchdowns. But it wasn't just the four touchdowns that earned him the offensive MVP. It was the way in which he commanded the offense from the quarterback position and distributed the ball around the field with poise, confidence and good decision making.
Defensive line: A-
The defensive line did a good job in various aspects. One, they controlled the point of attack in holding the gaps – Hebron Fangupo really stood out in the physical game – while putting pressure on the quarterback. And two, they creased the offensive line enough to allow linebackers to put pressure on the quarterback. The Cougar defensive line was responsible for three sacks on the game.
The linebackers were all over the field and dominated the Aggie offense. In a game where many linebackers got into the action, Brandon Ogletree and Kyle Van Noy were very productive both in tackling, stuffing runs and disrupting the quarterback. Jadon Wagner added a sack and a forced fumble in the first quarter. Senior Jameson Frazier recorded two fumble recoveries in the game.
For the second game in a row, the safeties turned in a very good performance both in the passing game and in run support. Daniel Sorensen and Travis Uale played physical while reading New Mexico State's quarterbacks well in the passing game, and were always around the ball. Uale had nine tackles and one pass breakup, while Sorensen had eight tackles and another pass breakup.
Against an offense Coach Mendenhall said had the potential to score a lot of points, the Cougar corners shut down the receivers for the most part with relative ease. The Aggies threw the ball 34 times for only 159 yards, averaging 4.7 yards a pass.
Defensive MVP goes to: Kyle Van Noy
Van Noy could have received the defensive MVP for simply showing his team spirit alone. Wearing the number one jersey of senior Jordan Pendleton, who played his last game as a Cougar three weeks ago, Van Noy did more than just represent him on the field. He was all over the field as usual, making tackles (six solo and six assisted) while pressuring the Aggie quarterbacks all night long.
Special teams: B-
The Cougars shut down NMSU special teams standout Taveon Rogers. Cougar linebacker Spencer Hadley was a force on special teams. Overall the special teams performance wasn't spectacular but solid. Justin Sorenson missed a 37-yard field goal attempt.