"I feel like they did focus a lot on the run because Jamaal [Williams] had such a good year," Cody Hoffman said. "You can't leave the box open for him, but then they tried to man up on the outside and it just wasn't working."
No, it wasn't. Hoffman would go on to record a school-record five touchdown passes in quarterback James Lark's starting debut. Hoffman would light up the stat sheet with 12 catches for 182 yards against a man-zone coverage.
"Ah, you know, it feels good," said Hoffman. "They were a good team so it always makes it better, but you have put it in the past and concentrate on the next game."
Along with Hoffman, James Lark also joined the record books that day for what was the best performance by a first-time starting quarterback in BYU history.
"It was a great performance and you can't really ask for much more," Hoffman said. "I think he had six touchdowns and 384 yards and no interceptions. That's something you can only dream of, so for him to come out and do that for his senior year, I'm really happy for him."
With San Diego State being the last game on the schedule, Hoffman hasn't thought much about breaking his five-touchdown record.
"The goal is just to win games. That's it," Hoffman said with a smile. "No individual goals really. It's just contributing all I can to win the game."
If Hoffman is to have a repeat performance, he'll have to do it against a possible NFL cornerback by the name of Leon McFadden, who is a candidate for both All-American and all-conference honors.
"[McFadden] is a great player," said Coach Doman. "He's got instincts and kind of plays like an NFL style corner. I suspect he'll have a chance to play in the NFL just from watching him. They don't give him much help, so we'll try and test him. We feel like we have pretty good receivers too, so we'll go play some football. But he's a good player."
When Hoffman faces the Aztec defense, he'll see a 3-3-5 system that will, more than likely, take a similar approach to that of New Mexico State. They'll look to stop Williams by stacking the box up front, leaving the outside receivers in man-coverage.
"From what I've seen on film we expect a lot of man-coverage, man blitz," said Hoffman. "They think that their defensive backs are better than our receivers, so they want to man up with us. So, we're putting in some good plays for them and I think it will be a good matchup."
"I don't miss it," said Coach Doman with talking about the 3-3-5 defense once used at BYU under Coach Mendenhall. "It poses a challenge in pass protection and running the ball. I don't think we have to try and go in there and cram the ball down their throat. I kind of look forward to the chess match a little bit. Hopefully we can do a better job offensively. I'm excited about the game and I'm excited about the plan that we have."
So come kickoff time, Cougar fans will have to wait and see if Hoffman has a performance against the Aztecs similar to what he had against NMSU.
Meanwhile, a common question among the fans is whether or not he'll return to BYU for his senior year.
"Yeah, I haven't decided yet, so we'll just have to see until after the bowl game how everything turns out," Hoffman said.
He claims at this point in time he isn't leaning one way or the other.
"No, it's 50-50 right now," Hoffman said. "I guess we'll see…I guess once the season ends we'll find out more on how it goes."
He also hasn't mentioned anything to his position coach or any member of BYU's coaching staff concerning the option of leaving a year early.
"No, I haven't really said anything," he said. "I'm just getting through this year and see what happens next."
Hoffman has actually received some contact through emails from potential agents.
"Yeah, I've gotten a couple of emails," Hoffman said. "But with the whole policy that we have, I don't really mess around too much with that just to be safe with the rules and everything."
Majoring in geology, Hoffman is on track to graduate next December if he returns.
If he does decide to return, Hoffman says there is one thing he would be looking forward to.
"I would probably say definitely the schedule," Hoffman said. "All the home games we had this year…because I feel like the majority of our tougher games were on the road this year, and I feel like a lot of those will be at home next year."
And if he decides to leave, what will he miss?
"Just my friends," Hoffman said. "Just the friendships I've developed on the team with a couple of the players, but I know they'll be there no matter what."
Well, in the meantime Cougar fans will be keeping their fingers crossed in hopes that Hoffman will return to thrill them once more next season. With 2,604 total career yards, he needs only 31 yards to become third on BYU's all-time career yard list, and two more touchdowns to pass up Austin Collie's record of 30 career touchdowns. He only needs 651 yards to tie Collie's 3,255 career receiving yards, a record he should easily break if he decides to return next year.
"I haven't really been focused too much with that," he said. "I'm just kind of concentrating on the season and what I need to do to get better.
Maybe so. But it's certainly true that the 2013 season would look a whole lot better in every way possible with him than without him.