Game day grades: BYU vs. Texas

For a second straight week the Cougars of BYU headed south, but this time to take on Big 12 powerhouse Texas in Austin. So how did the Cougar offense and defense fare in the 17-16 loss? Well, it was a tail of two halves and here are the grades.

Quarterbacks: C

During the first half, Heaps seemed in control of the offense and was able to pick apart a young but talented Longhorn defense at will. Still, the offense couldn't finish, much like in the game against Ole Miss. Heaps directed the offense with a good tempo and completed passes to 11 different receivers. However, this was a tail of two halves, and BYU basically disappeared in the second half.

Running backs: D+

Establishing the Cougar running game was vital in order to open up the pass to be less predictable. However, the BYU run game struggled between the tackles, forcing BYU to become a one-dimensional team with the passing game while facing a fast man-on-man secondary.

Wide receiver: C+

After asserting their will in the first half, the Cougar wide receivers struggled to find their groove in the second. Much of that could be due to the second-half play calling.

Tight ends: A-

Here was a bright spot. Austin Holt, Richard Wilson and Marcus Mathews had very productive games against a group of talented Texas linebackers. They found seams in the defense to keep drives alive, but were hindered in the second half due to the play calling.

Offensive line: C-

The offensive line was just average on Saturday. While they gave up only one sack, the issue wasn't pass protection as much as it was run blocking. The offensive line needed to assert their dominance much like they did against Ole Miss, but with the inability to establish the run game, BYU became one-dimensional.

Offensive coaching: D

The offense seemed to sputter in the second half, and when the Longhorn defense was on the ropes in the first half, the offense seemed to go into a conservative disposition rather than having a more aggressive killer instinct. Coach Doman's offense was in the game the first half and the offense seemed to drive almost at will. However, Texas made halftime corrections that the BYU offense never adjusted to. After having the Texas fans booing in the first half, the Cougar play calling gave Texas short fields, allowing the fans to once again cheer Texas as they took advantage.

Offensive MVP goes to: Ross Apo

Like in the Ole Miss game, Apo scored the only touchdown for the Cougar offense and gets this game's offensive MVP.

Defensive line: B

The defensive line played well, controlling the gap and stopping the Texas run game up the middle. They defended a short field while being out on the field often.

Linebackers: B

A steady group throughout the game, the linebackers did wear down in the second half from the BYU offense failing to sustain drives. Aside from that, they played a solid game against both the run and pass.

Safeties: C

There were lots of missed tackles from the safety position that allowed Texas running backs to gain big yards on plays that shouldn't have been. While the safeties never got beat deep, they did give up big plays in run support.

Cornerbacks: B-

While the cornerbacks wore down in the second half, much like the linebackers, they didn't give up any long plays. A lot of the pass completions came off of Texas' ride-option, which came after the defense shut down starting Texas quarterback Garrett Gilbert in the first half.

Defensive coaching: B+

The grade would have been higher, but the defense wore down as the game wore on. In the second half, the Longhorns were able to drive and the Cougars struggled to stop an offense with new energy and a more aggressive approach. There was little pressure in the second half with rotating quarterbacks becoming a norm.

Defensive MVP goes to: nose guards

The middle of the defense held solid against the run, and the middle of the pocket in the Texas passing game was dented. Much of that was due to the solid play of Romney Fuga and Travis Tuiloma, who dented the pocket and stuffed the run against some very talented running backs.

Special teams: A-

The special teams were definitely was a bright spot for the Cougars in this game. Sorensen made every field goal and team coverage was very good for the most part, only allowing one good Texas return. On kick returns, Jordan Johnson returned the ball for good yardage against a fast Texas kickoff group. There were also no turnovers on special teams.

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