The Cougar Curve

The Gman gives out his grades for the game that put BYU back to .500 ball after pulling out two key conference wins in a row. In a game where the offense only stopped themselves you can assume the grades will be relatively high on at least one side of the football.

Quarterback: B+

John Beck did not put up the numbers he did last week, but did most everything he had to in order for the offense to keep chugging along. Beck's most impressive plays came with his sharp and quick decisions to leave the pocket and make yards. He was smacked hard when he ran out of the pocket as the Cougars approached the CSU goal line on their final drive and hang on to the ball.

Beck was not perfect throwing a drive-killing interception on a bad read and was a bit jumpy in the pocket on a couple of plays, but did everything he had to do for the most part. The checks he made to go with the run or pass at the line of scrimmage should not got without praise either.

Beck also proved to be able to pick up the reads given by an almost exclusive cover two and cover three scheme improving heads and shoulders to what he showed against San Diego State. He did not hesitate to hit the seams to Jonny Harline primarily as that is what the cover two gives up.

Running Backs: A

Curtis Brown and Fahu Tahi ran rampant as they were given the ball on most downs. Brown hit the hole about as hard as he has at any time in his career running with authority and falling forward on every run. Tahi was not much different.

Special mention needs to go to Manase Tonga. BYU lost a lot when Moa Peaua was not able to join the team at the start of fall practices, but Tonga is picking up very nicely. Tonga had some of the biggest plays of the night which will not show up on the stat sheet. On the fourth down conversion on the run by C. Brown on the final touchdown drive, CSU's tackle jumped the play in the backfield and if Tonga does not clear out a player who is well over 40 pounds heavier, then BYU may not win that game. Tonga was huge tonight.

Wide Receivers: B

Like Beck, they were not a big part of the game plan, but made plays when they had to. Harline was at home again in the middle of the field, but had a drive-stopping fumble near the goal line. Daniel Coats made an incredible grab for BYU's second touchdown and blocked very well.

Todd Watkins had no catches which usually would be very bad for the BYU offense, but him not getting the ball was nullified more by the effectiveness of the BYU ground game rather than The Rams defense. Watkins did block well on running plays tonight, which will not go unappreciated by NFL scouts. Matt Allen and Nathan Miekle both had some drops which is not what you want to see. Joe Griffin had a nice grab as did Luke Ashworth during the game.

Offensive Line: A+

When I first interviewed Coach Jeff Grimes when he arrived in Provo, he mentioned that he liked to coach his offensive line to impose their will on the opposing defense. Breaking the defense's will is something that he wanted to coach his line to do and I think it was very apparent tonight that his line did exactly that.

This line is not getting enough credit for what they are doing this year. Jake Kuresa and Eddie Keele are proving to be one of the better tackle tandems around. When Keele went out for a couple of reps, Ray Feinga stepped in and the OL did not miss a beat.

The interior line was as solid as you would expect with Dallas Reynolds, Lance Reynolds Jr., Brian Sanders and Terrance Brown mowing the Ram defensive front on almost every snap. The reason C. Brown was able to hit the hole as hard and as fast as he did was due to the designed hole being open on almost every occasion which is a credit to the interior linemen. The offensive line gets the game ball tonight.

Defensive Line: B

I need to qualify this grade given the fact that the line played almost the entire game without Daniel Marquardt and Vince Feula. Manaia Brown also missed his share of reps with injury and guys like Justin Maddux, Hala Paongo, T.J. Sitake, Kyle Luekenga and Judd Anderton had to step up.

This group did not dominate by any means, but held firm on many key third down situations. Sitake and Maddux both made impressive plays on attempted slip-screens which were key toward the end of the game. Luekenga and Anderton both saw more reps than they had at any time and held their own.

Linebackers: B+

They were healthy with Cameron Jensen, Paul Walkenhorst and Justin Luettgerodt all playing about every snap. When these linebackers are healthy, then they are very good. The pressure was a lot better tonight on the quarterback and most of the credit goes to the linebackers on the blitzes as they sacked the previously twice-sacked Justin Holland five times.

Safeties: B

This group had a much better outing than they did last week against New Mexico. They made plays. A lot of the pressure on Holland was on well-timed blitzes by K.C. Bills, Spencer White, Quinn Gooch and Corby Hodgkiss. They executed delayed blitzes very effectively killing at least two CSU drives.

Bad angles were unfortunately taken against on too many occasions, but I feel this group made some strides tonight against what was probably the best offense they've faced this year. David Tafuna deserves special note filling in for Dustin Gabriel early in the game and holding his own.

Cornerbacks: B-

What did David Anderson do? He is CSU's top offensive player and he was held in check. Say what you want about Nate Soelberg and company, but they collectively let nothing behind them throughout the duration of the game. The PI penalty on Soelberg was unfortunate, but they held CSU's best offensive weapon in check throughout the game.

Justin Robinson did not come out as strong as you would like, but finished extremely strong as he noticeably grew more confident and sure with his reads throughout the course of the game. He jumped several balls and should have had a pick on one of them. Kayle Buchanan was in for two series by my count and did not have much thrown his way save for the touchdown grab by Anderson.

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