Game grades: BYU vs. Utah

The Cougars once again come away with a loss in a rivalry game that could have been won. BYU managed to once again find a way to lose the game despite, the Utah fans giving them one more chance. In a game where Utah didn't have its starting quarterback and running back, and had a brand new offensive coordinator, BYU gave this one away – once again.

The BYU offense needs help and lots of it. Everywhere from the offensive line down to the quarterback position, BYU's offense struggled and the play-calling didn't help accommodate. BYU rarely attacked the middle of Utah's defense, but seemed to rely on the option to attack the strength of Utah's defense: the defensive line.

Quarterback: D

This game would be either won or lost with BYU's quarterback play. The toughness and grit of Riley Nelson of yesteryear seemed to have run out. Coach Doman had no answer for Nelson or the offensive line's weaknesses, and the quarterback play and play-calling seemed to favor Utah's defense.

Wide receivers: C+

With Ross Apo is still missing in action, and not even a factor in the game, the primary receiving responsibilities fell upon Cody Hoffman, who gave BYU's offense its only hope. In a game in which BYU needed the receivers to step up, only Hoffman did. The h-receivers were never involved much over the middle attacking the weakness of Utah's defense.

Tight ends: B+

In a game in which the tight ends should have been used much more than they were, very few passes were thrown to a position that was emerging as a strength within the offense. Kanueakua Friel managed to score another touchdown, sneaking out on an I-formation play.

Offensive line: D-

Utah has a very good defensive line, and it was expected that they would have some success in the middle of BYU's offensive line. There were many mental errors with false starts and an inability to hold blocks to allow plays to develop. BYU didn't go into the hurry-up offense as much, something Utah State did that wore down Utah's defensive line. The offensive line wasn't able to keep Utah out of BYU's backfield. It became obvious early that BYU couldn't get the ball downfield, and Utah took advantage of it by blitzing often against a line that caused seven false starts. The offense will continue to struggle as long as the offensive line continues to play poorly for a quarterback looking to stay more in the pocket to pass the ball.

Defensive line: B+

The defensive line played really well and held Utah's rushing game in check. There were a few breakdowns up front when a play needed to be made, but overall the line played well, stunting on the interior, opening up blitzing lanes and denting the pocket with a three-man rush.

Linebackers: B+

BYU's linebacker did a relatively good job holding an already hampered Utah rushing game in check all night. Spencer Hadley again came up big with his play, as did Kyle Van Noy despite missing the coverage on a Utah tight end on the first touchdown of the game. Overall the linebackers had a very solid game.

Secondary: B-

With Utah's run game in question, the secondary needed to come up big in this game and shut down Utah's receivers. For the most part BYU's secondary kept Utah's receivers in check, which it should have against a backup quarterback. BYU's secondary played much better against Washington State than it did against Utah's passing attack.

Special Teams: D+

Utah managed to get in scoring range for its first touchdown because of poor coverage on the kickoff team. After not kicking in the previous two games, Justin Sorensen came in and missed a crucial field goal. Later, at the end of the game with BYU down three, Sorensen had a long field goal blocked. BYU was given an extra opportunity to make a field goal courtesy of Utah fans rushing the field prematurely. However, Riley Stephenson was unable to make it at a closer range, as the ball bounced off the post.


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