The Cougar Curve: BYU vs. Wyoming

A piece of a Mountain West Conference Championship is now ensured as BYU put together what was arguably their most complete game of the season. Both offense and defense executed virtually flawlessly on the way to a 55-7 victory. Tonight's grades reflect the total domination by the Cougars.

Quarterback: A

You can basically write in Beck's stats for every game. Game in and game out he is completing over 70% of his passes, throwing for around 300 yards and multiple touchdowns. Tonight, Beck threw for 313 yards and completed 77% of his passes for a 12-yard average per pass attempt, which is simply phenomenal. Beck completely riddled Wyoming's coverages throughout the game.

Running Backs: B+

It was an efficient yet unspectacular outing by BYU's running backs. They made plays when they needed to but were not dominate as I expected they would be in this game. Wyoming stacked the line, preferring to make Beck beat them. Curtis Brown had a good outing with 92 yards rushing, but Fui Vakapuna was a non-factor due to a gimpy ankle that limited his reps.

Wide Receivers: A

Michael Reed only had two catches, but they were both outstanding grabs, one of which went for a touchdown. Reed is starting to really use his superior size effectively downfield. He will continue to be one of Beck's better options over the top of coverage because he makes great adjustments on the ball in the air while shielding out smaller cornerbacks.

Zac Collie, Matt Allen and McKay Jacobson were all pretty quiet save for Jacobson's punt return, which I will get to later in my special teams grade. It was a solid game for the Cougar wideouts.

Inside Receivers: A-

Meikle's two dropped passes are the only thing keeping this unit from an A grade. Jonny Harline showed up big tonight, making several great grabs while showing great athleticism. He was Beck's go-to guy in most third down situations.

Offensive Line: B

The push of the OL in short yardage situations was not always what you would expect from this unit and they will need to work on that in future games. Pass protection was good again save for about three instances that led to sacks and hurries on Beck.

Defensive Line: A

These guys allowed nothing in regards to a running attack and mounted good pressure on Karsten Sween all game long. The DL did not make many plays individually but dominated their blocking assignments, allowing the Cougar linebackers free reign to wreak havoc which they did. The DL got it done.

Linebackers: A+

It is no longer sufficient to give this unit a mere "A" grade game in and game out. The Cougar linebackers flowed to the ball, filled just about every gap they were given, shot the gap on many plays, which led to losses, and shed virtually every open-field block thrown at them.

Cameron Jensen may have had his best game ever tonight, which is saying a lot for a player who has shown up big in every game this year. If memory serves correctly General Jensen personally stuffed three third and short attempts by the Cowboys. He also shut down one fourth and short attempt when he went "Kyle Morrell" by leaping over the line to stop Sween on a quarterback sneak.

What about the rest of the linebackers? They were again outstanding in every aspect of their play.

Cornerbacks: A

I ranted on our board earlier this week that people need to quit bagging on Justin Robinson, who has been very good all year long. In this game, he was outstanding. Wyoming actually attempted to beat him deep on several occasions, but Robinson was in perfect position each time and forced incompletions. Robinson should have had two interceptions in this game, but was outstanding none-the-less.

Ben Criddle mirrored Robinson's play on the other side allowing few complete passes. Criddle also showed up big by tackling players in the open field.

Safeties: A

Quinn Gooch would be my second pick for defensive MVP in this game. Early on, he cut the angle of Wyoming's very shifty and fast running back dropping him in the open field on a play that may have gone for a long touchdown run had Gooch not made the play. Gooch also made an outstanding play to intercept a Sween pass. He jumped the pattern and almost returned it for a touchdown.

Special Teams: A+

Kick coverages were outstanding once again, but it was the returns that set the tone for this game. Nathan Miekle had several productive returns but none as productive as when he almost took the opening kickoff for a touchdown.

I feel sorry for any fan who left the game early and missed McKay Jacobson's touchdown on a punt return. Jacobson showed every aspect of an effective returner on the play:

1. He immediately identified the open seam and split it. There was no hesitation at all, and he showcased his speed by splitting a seam that few players on either team could have done.

2. Jacobson maintained his balance and forward progress despite a pretty darn good hit by a Wyoming defender. Jacobson bounced off the hit without much of a stagger and then took it to the end zone.

3. Despite getting hit and already running for 60 yards, Jacobson still managed to cut the ball against the grain and maintain his distance from one of Wyoming's fastest defenders on his way to the end zone.

Offensive MVP: Jonny Harline

It would be easy to give it to Beck every week, but Harline gets it this week for making several great grabs including a touchdown and several third down conversions.

Defensive MVP: Cameron Jensen

For reasons already mentioned above, Jensen was truly the General of the football field tonight.


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