BYU can't dig out of early hole, falls 20-14 to San Jose State
Just when you thought the BYU Cougars couldn't come up with another way to lose a close game in this season of underachievement, they turned in Saturday's result at Spartan Stadium. San Jose State 20, BYU 14. The Spartans won it in front of 15,494 fans. I'm guessing that about half the crowd was cheering for BYU. I had to file my game story for the newspaper as soon as the game ended to beat deadline, and then a write-through just 10 minutes later. As a result, I wasn't able to get to the locker room after the game and talk to coach Bronco Mendenhall or any of the players. San Jose State's sports information department sent an employee to the postgame interviews and issued some comments from BYU coaches and players after the game, however. Apparently, BYU receiver Cody Hoffman finished the game playing with a "substantial" shoulder injury. More will be known on Monday. BYU quarterback Riley Nelson was hurt again, coach Bronco Mendenhall said, although the extent of Nelson's injury was not made clear. "He took another hard shot and the guy is very resilient," Mendenhall said. "We had James [Lark] ready because Riley was hurting. We weren't sure how and if he was going to be able to continue and he just kept recovering and recovering. He gave us a chance to win the game." Regarding the sack and forced fumble that ended BYU's chances, Mendenhall said that San Jose State linebacker Keith Smith made a great play. "We went for a cut block and the guy flew over the top," Mendenhall said. Here's more from Mendenhall, courtesy of SJSU: On San Jose's quick start: "We just were not concentrating very well on our assignments. They had some nice concentration plays that forced our players to really concentrate from the beginning of the play to the end of the play. They had three big plays to start the game and then we decided to play and concentrate. Give San Jose State credit for the way they started the game."On BYU's defense struggling early: "I think [BYU's defense] played three quarters of good football. San Jose has a good offense and can put a lot of points on the board." On not playing good defense for four quarters: "I think so, especially against good teams. They dug us into a hole and we couldn't get out." On BYU rushing for 87 yards and passing for 335: "We don't like the imbalance. Some of it has to do with us playing from behind. If the runs were more successful, we obviously would have run the ball more." On the onside kick recovery: "I was really excited. It was a real nice onside kick. We executed it real well and had two and a half minutes still to go with a timeout and it couldn't have been set up any better. We had a couple false starts right after that in a critical moment that really hurt us."