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Multithreat QB Nelson guides BYU to victory over Oregon State

CORVALLIS, Ore. — Riley Nelson appears to have locked down the quarterback job at Brigham Young.

The junior left-hander dazzled with his arm and feet, throwing for 217 yards and three touchdowns and running for 87 yards to lead BYU over Oregon State 38-28 Saturday.

Cody Hoffman had nine receptions for 162 yards and a TD for the Cougars (5-2).

Nelson’s mobility helped keep the Oregon State defense on edge.

“I just run the way I do because I don’t know how to do it otherwise,” he said.

Sean Mannion was 27 of 43 for 306 yards for Oregon State (1-5) but was intercepted twice, bringing his season total to nine. Markus Wheaton had eight catches for 104 yards for the Beavers.

BYU has won four straight. Nelson replaced Jake Heaps in the middle of a 27-24 win over Utah State on Sept. 30 and has won three in a row as a starter.

“Riley gives you a unique element because he can scramble for all those yards, even if the play isn’t designed for him,” BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said.

Nelson took a long route to the starting job. He began his career at Utah State, then spent two years on a church mission in Spain before losing a preseason battle with traditional drop-back passer Heaps to replace Max Hall.

Michael Alisa had 84 yards of the Cougars’ 282 rushing yards. BYU averaged 116 yards on the ground in its first six games.

BYU scored on all six of its trips into the red zone and maintained control of the game despite three turnovers.

“I think this is the most balanced we’ve been this season,” Mendenhall said.

The Cougars took a 14-0 lead on touchdown runs by Alisa and JJ Di Luigi. Oregon State tied the game after a 1-yard touchdown run by Mannion and Jordan Poyer’s 51-yard interception return for a score.

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