Nelson's 2 TDs lift BYU, spoil Leach's return 30-6

Associated Press Modified: August 31, 2012 at 2:49 am •  Published: August 31, 2012
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PROVO, Utah (AP) — Brigham Young's defense was tired of watching film and sick of hearing about Mike Leach's vaunted Air Raid attack.

"It's a slap in the face," linebacker Brandon Ogletree said. "We were a Top 15 defense last year and I don't want to hear about how we should be scared of anybody."

After the way they shut down Washington State in a 30-6 victory Thursday night, perhaps some of the attention will shift their way.

BYU intercepted quarterback Jeff Tuel twice and sacked him three times while limiting Leach's offense to 224 yards total.

Leach was coaching his first game since being fired by Texas Tech in 2009 amid allegations he mistreated a player with a concussion.

While there was plenty of buzz about his return, especially against his alma mater and on national television, the offense was a dud.

"We vacillated, I thought, between playing frantic and then we'd play overly conscientious where we're trying not to make a mistake," Leach said. "At some point we have to reach that happy medium where each play is separate and you just do your part on each play."

Washington State came out throwing as expected, with Tuel starting 8 of 9. But his 10th pass was intercepted by Uona Kaveinga, and the momentum shifted to BYU before a "white-out" crowd.

BYU's senior quarterback, Riley Nelson, then took over.

Nelson engineered a 10-play, 80-yard TD drive to give BYU a 7-0 lead. He had two big third-down completions to Cody Hoffman on the drive, for 28 and 12 yards, and found Skyler Ridley open for the 7-yard scoring pass.

"Riley is so competitive and so tough, he demands respect," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said.

Nelson finished 25 of 36 for 285 yards, with two touchdowns — the second a 25-yard pass to tight end Kaneakua Friel that put BYU up 24-3 late in the second quarter.

Friel also caught an 18-yard scoring pass from third-string quarterback Taysom Hill in the second quarter and finished with six catches for 101 yards.

"His grit and determination day in and day out ... he's been a real bright spot of fall camp," Mendenhall said of Friel. "It didn't surprise me or anyone on our team what he did."

BYU's defense turned the most heads.

It held Washington State to minus-5 yards rushing, and limited Biletnikoff Award candidate Marquess Wilson to four catches for 61 yards.

Tuel completed 30 of 45 passes for 229 yards, but never really could sustain anything after the first interception.

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