Two fractured ribs and a partially collapsed lung will likely keep BYU quarterback Riley Nelson from finishing the rest of the regular season, but coach Bronco Mendenhall said this week that when Nelson does return — in other words, for a bowl game — he will be the starter.
Nelson was injured in the first quarter of BYU’s 42-7 win over Idaho over the weekend. Backup and former starter Jake Heaps finished the game and will be the starter in the Cougars’ next game against New Mexico State. It’s a little sketchy beyond that, but it appears Heaps will get the start as well against Hawaii in a few weeks.
“He [Nelson] might be [healthy enough] to play, but not be able to make the trip,” Mendenhall said about Nelson’s chances of travelling to Hawaii. “So that will be a decision that will come later.”
Mendenhall added that Nelson’s four-week prognosis was on the “conservative” side, so it’s not completely out of the question that we could see Nelson again before the regular season ends. For now, though, it’s week-by-week and Heaps will have another opportunity to play.
It just doesn’t appear as though he’ll keep the job.
“Jake, much like Riley a year ago, had the more difficult part of the schedule to begin with, and now he has a chance to re-emerge, or re-surge, I guess I would say it,” Mendenhall said. “I would expect him to do it now after having watched a level of increased leadership, excitement, execution and really demonstrate to not only the team, but to everyone around BYU football [and] remind them of how capable he really is. And he showed that Saturday, and I think he will show it again this upcoming Saturday.”
(Tip of the cap: Salt Lake Tribune)