After getting a C last week against the University of Texas on the road in Austin, BYU sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps didn't improve on his performance at home against rival Utah. Heaps turned the ball over for a quick Utah touchdown only two minutes into the game. His play hasn't improved much since the opening quarter against Ole Miss. He's still inconsistent, missing passes to open receivers and easy passes to running backs in the flats. He did, however, seem to look off his receivers more against Utah than he did against Texas. Heaps did throw for 305 yards, the first of his career.
Running backs: D
In a game where the focus was to establish the run and correct the issues of the first two games, the Cougar running backs looked much the same: very less than average. They turned the ball over during critical points in the game. The run game was never established and the offense again became one-dimensional with a passing game that yielded, again, one touchdown through four quarters.
Wide receivers: C+
Cody Hoffman finally became more visible, catching quick passes in slant routes. He had 138 yards receiving on eight catches. Ross Apo again scored the only offensive touchdown in the game. The H-receiver position never became much of a threat in the game. Against lesser secondary talent than Ole Miss and Texas, the receivers played average.
Tight ends: B
The tight end position actually fared well again with Austin Holt, Richard Wilson and Marcus Mathews catching almost everything thrown in their direction. The tight ends made plays downfield and blocked well in their assignments in the run game.
Offensive line: C+
While the offensive line blocked decently in the passing game, leading to 305 yards passing, they also gave up a sack that cost them points on the board and never opened up any rushing lanes for running backs trying to find their identity.
Offensive coaching: D
The offense again looked inconsistent, disorganized with players trying to find their alignments, and out of sync in terms of both execution and rhythm. The offense also turned the ball over a total of six times and was never able to assert itself, and it looked more disorganized and anemic than it did against Ole Miss.
Offensive MVP goes to: Cody Hoffman
It would be easy to give the MVP to Ross Apo given the fact that he scored the only Cougar touchdown in the game, but Hoffman made more of a quiet contribution to the overall success of the offense by recording 138 total yards of offense on eight catches.
Defensive line: B-
Much like against Texas, the defensive front came out on fire, but that spark dwindled with more on-the-field minutes as the game wore on. The defensive line again played hard and dented the pocket often when rushing the quarterback in a three-man front.
The linebackers as a whole played well stopping the run in what was again a tale of two halves for the defense. However, for three quarters, the linebackers played solidly in both the run and passing game, even getting an interception while bottling up speedy running back John White for most of the game.
Cougar safeties Daniel Sorensen and Travis Uale again played tough in stepping up to support the run game. The two also showed their hard-hitting demeanor in the passing game, separating Ute receivers from the ball and sending a few limping and buckled to the sidelines after a hit. Still, the pass defense needs to be cleaned up a bit, as the safeties were beat on big plays, and pass interference penalties kept a stagnant Utah offensive drive alive. Two pass interferences eventually led to Utah scoring points in what would have otherwise been a punting situation.
The cornerbacks played consistently for two-and-a-half quarters of play. However, there were players out of position and sloppy play in coverage that led to big Utah plays when there shouldn't have been.
Defensive coaching: B-
Although the scoreboard shows Utah having scored 54 points, the defense wasn't fully to blame for the blowout. There was only one play where Coach Chow beat Coach Mendenhall, and that was a blitz call that led to a Utah score. Coach Mendenhall took full blame for the sudden surge in the Utah rushing attack, but some of that blame has to be dished out on the offensive side of the ball due to a lack of execution, uninspiring offense output and a lack of sustained drives that put more pressure on the defensive side of the ball.
Defensive MVP goes to: Kyle Van Noy
While the defense overall played rather consistent through three quarters, outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy was consistent in the run game and hauled in an interception during a time when Utah's offense was starting to move the ball.
Special teams: D
Justin Sorensen was a bright spot, kicking a 40-plus-yard field goal to finally get BYU on the board. Cody Hoffman was another bright spot, racking up 139 yards on eight kickoff returns. However, other than that, the special teams were anything but special. Kickoff coverage was poor and a muffed kick return by J.D. Falslev yielded another quick Utah touchdown that put the final nail in the coffin. Overall the performance by the special teams, going from an A- against Texas to a dismal D performance against Utah, is very disappointing.