PROVO -- Jake Heaps nearly matched his season total for touchdown passes with four, yet a pair of Brigham Young senior walk-ons had a chance to share the stage in their final home game.
Matt Edwards, the grandson of former BYU coach LaVell Edwards, scored the first touchdown of his career on the first reception of his career in Saturday night's 42-7 win over New Mexico State.
And fellow senior Matt Marshall scored the first TD of his career on the first carry of his career -- a 2-yard run off a direct snap in the third quarter.
"I give credit to Marshall and Edwards for being ready to play when their number was called," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "If you can reward someone like that after so many years of hard work, it's a pretty cool thing."
It helped that BYU (8-3), playing as an independent this season, was beating up on its second straight Western Athletic Conference opponent.
Still, the Aggies (4-7) were coming off a 48-45 win over Fresno State in which they rolled up 500 yards of offense.
"It's an explosive offense," Mendenhall said.
"I thought we had a dominant showing," added senior linebacker Jameson Frazier, who had a fumble recovery for the Cougars.
Heaps was making his first start since Sept. 30, when he was benched after the Cougars fell behind instate rival Utah State. Replacement Riley Nelson started the next five games but broke ribs and suffered a partially collapsed lung in last week's 42-7 win over Idaho.
Though he threw an early interception, Heaps rebounded Saturday with four touchdown passes, including a pair to freshman Ross Apo. Heaps finished 21 of 36 for 238 yards.
"He delivered the ball where it needed to go the majority of the time. A couple of throws were rushed and I'm sure there were a couple of decisions he'd like to take back," Mendenhall said. "He was poised. He was confident. He made a lot of great throws and the play at the end of the game where he ducked under the sack and stepped forward and threw the football was the best play he's made in his career at BYU. That was an amazing play."
Heaps did not want to talk about his touchdowns.
"I'm so happy to send out our seniors right," he said. "They are an amazing group of guys. It's a privilege for me to play with them."
Matt Christian threw a second-quarter touchdown pass to Austin Franklin that tied the score at 7 for the Aggies, but also fumbled. Christian left the game in the third quarter because of injury. A fumble by replacement Travaughn Colwell set up another BYU score.
"When we can't score points to match, we're going to struggle," New Mexico State coach DeWayne Walker said. "That's what happened. It hasn't happened a lot this year, but it happened tonight. We're going to learn from it."
BYU outgained New Mexico State 411-249, held a 173-90 edge in yards rushing and converted 10 of 14 third-down plays. The Cougars also were 6 of 7 in red-zone opportunities.
"If you can't stop teams on third down, you're going to struggle," Walker said.
JJ DiLuigi led BYU with 75 yards rushing, and added 31 receiving in his final home game.
A 2-yard TD run by Marshall put BYU ahead 28-7 midway through the third quarter.
Heaps' third touchdown pass, a 9-yarder to Edwards, gave BYU a 35-7 lead with 3:14 left in the third quarter.
Heaps' 27-yard TD pass to JD Falslev closed out the scoring.
BYU's defense gets just as much credit, coming up with several big plays when needed.
BYU's defense set up the Cougars' first score after linebacker Jadon Wagner drilled Christian with a blind-side blitz, forcing a fumble. Frazier recovered on the BYU 48 with 10:16 left in the first quarter.
Heaps drove the Cougars 52 yards in 12 plays, with Bryan Kariya capping the drive with a 4-yard touchdown run. Heaps completed two third-down passes to keep the drive alive.
After Christian left the game in the third quarter with an undisclosed injury, Preston Hadley and Wagner combined to sack Colwell and force another fumble, which Wagner recovered at the New Mexico State 40 with 3:48 left in the third.
Heaps had the Cougars in the end zone again three plays later.
The score was tied at 7 before a pair of touchdown passes from Heaps to Apo.
The first capped a 90-yard drive. Heaps swung the pass wide to Apo, who picked up a block from Marcus Mathews and scored from 20 yards out. The Cougars converted three third-down plays on the drive, with Heaps completing 12-yard passes to Cody Hoffman and Falslev and Kariya picking up 10 yards on a third-and-2 burst up the middle.
Heaps' second touchdown pass was a 9-yarder to Apo with 30 seconds left in the first half. Apo was hit at the 2 but stretched out for the score.
There was plenty of good from Heaps, but he also overthrew several wide-open receivers.
His eighth interception of the year set up the Aggies' first score as Donyae Coleman jumped a route by Mathews to give New Mexico State the ball at the BYU 38.
Heaps started the season as BYU's quarterback but struggled against the more difficult opponents. In his first four starts, he completed just 55.6 percent of his passes, with five interceptions and three touchdowns as BYU started 2-2. He now has nine TDs on the season.
The more mobile Nelson, a lefty, provided an instant spark, rallying BYU past Utah State and winning four of the next five, while struggling with two interceptions in a 38-28 loss at TCU.
Mendenhall has said Nelson will get the starting job back when he returns, possibly in time for BYU's Dec. 30 bowl game. The Cougars earlier Saturday formally accepted an invitation to play in the Armed Forces Bowl against a Conference USA opponent.
Kenny Turner led New Mexico State with 70 yards rushing on 16 carries.
Christian finished 12 of 23 for 98 yards and was sacked once. Colwell was 7 of 11 for 61 yards, with two sacks.
Apo led BYU with five catches for 66 yards.
Linebacker Kyle Van Noy, wearing jersey No. 1 in honor of injured senior Jordan Pendleton, said it meant a ton for him to wear that number.
"It's a sign of respect and words cannot express how much respect I have for Jordan, just because of what he's been through here," Van Noy said.