Photo courtesy of BYU Athletics
NCAA FOOTBALL BOWLS PAGE
(Sports Network) - Riley Nelson threw three touchdown passes to Cody Hoffman, including a two-yarder with 11 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, as BYU rallied to beat Tulsa, 24-21, in the Armed Forces Bowl.
Nelson completed 17-of-40 passes for 250 yards with two interceptions for the Cougars (10-3), who made their seventh consecutive bowl appearance under head coach Bronco Mendenhall.
Hoffman finished with 122 yards on eight receptions.
Tulsa's G.J. Kinne matched Nelson with three touchdown passes, but the Golden Hurricane (8-5) couldn't get BYU's offense off the field down the stretch.
The Cougars began the decisive drive at the Tulsa 48-yard line with 4:18 to play. Nelson ran for 14 yards on 4th-and-9 to move the chains, and BYU converted a pair of third downs before a six-yard pass from Nelson to Marcus Mathews set up a 2nd-and-goal.
With no timeouts remaining, Nelson hurried to the line, faked the spike and found Hoffman at the right front corner of the end zone for the go-ahead score.
Tulsa started the game by marching 76 yards in 11 plays and Kinne capped off the drive with an eight-yard touchdown pass to Ricky Johnson
The Golden Hurricane offense was held in check following the impressive opening possession until Bryan Burnham made a juggling catch along the left sideline for a 50-yard gain in the second quarter. Two plays later, Kinne connected on a 14-yard scoring strike to Clay Sears.
In between the two touchdowns, BYU's Justin Sorensen kicked a 35-yard field goal after an offsides penalty wiped out a Nelson interception.
Tulsa looked to go into halftime with an 11-point lead in tow, but J.D. Ratliff, with defenders moving in, opted to field a punt and wound up losing control. David Foote recovered the fumble for BYU at the Tulsa 17-yard line inside the final minute.
On the next play from scrimmage, Nelson received a key block from a helmetless member of his offensive line, allowing him to throw a touchdown pass across the field to Hoffman that trimmed the Cougars' deficit to 14-10.
Following the break, Dexter McCoil picked off Nelson for a second time and scampered 32 yards to the BYU 35. Tulsa failed to capitalize on the turnover as Kevin Fitzpatrick missed a 46-yard field goal wide right.
The Cougars responded on the ensuing drive, grabbing a 17-14 lead on Hoffman's 30-yard TD grab with 1:41 to play in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, Kinne answered with a 30-yard TD pass to Burnham to put Tulsa back on top.