The BYU Cougars were down for most of the 2011 Armed Forces Bowl, never taking a lead in the game until late in the third quarter. When the Tulsa Golden Hurricane promptly retook the lead on a 30-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback G.J. Kinne, things looked bleak for a BYU squad led by the struggling Riley Nelson at quarterback. The Cougars would get the ball back with 4:18 left in the game down just four points, however, and Nelson would atone for the poor decisions he made throughout the day. With the clock running, Nelson faked the spike with 11 seconds left and found Cody Hoffman for the duo's third touchdown connection on the day.
Tulsa fumbled the ball away on a last-ditch desperation pass, sealing the 24-21 victory for BYU. Golden Hurricane quarterback G.J. Kinne played well in his final college game, going 17-for-31 passing for 210 yards and three touchdowns. He couldn't overcome the constant pressure from the Cougars' front seven, however, nor the complete ineffectiveness of his running game. Tulsa managed just 37 total yards on the ground.
Nelson went just 17-for-40 passing, including two interceptions thrown straight into the arms of waiting Tulsa defenders. Luckily, he had the 6-4 Hoffman on his side. The sophomore receiver caught eight passes for 122 yards in addition to his three scores, none bigger than the last one. The spike formation left Hoffman one-on-one with a defensive back, who he easily boxed out for the catch. That play would not have happened if not for a play made earlier on the drive by Nelson. Facing 4th-and-9 on the Tulsa 47-yard line Nelson improvised, tucking the ball in and breaking tackles on a 14-yard run to keep the game-winning drive alive.
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