The Cougar Curve: BYU vs. New Mexico

For the first time since the TCU game, the second half actually meant something in a BYU game. The Lobos used a strong ground game and two interceptions to make a game of it, at least through the third quarter. The game went largely the way most thought it would as BYU ended up winning comfortably on its way to securing an outright Mountain West Conference championship.

Quarterback: A-

Beck threw for more yards today than usual, which was very much the result of simply having the opportunity to throw it more as BYU needed second half scores this time around to maintain their distance. Beck threw two interceptions, one where he did not pick up a linebacker dropping in coverage and the other on a tipped ball. Beck also overthrew some open receivers who would have gone in for easy scores.

Of course other than those rare gaffes, Beck was as prolific as always. He made the right reads over and over again. He also showed great pocket presence by standing in to complete passes despite taking big shots from Lobo defenders. Most notable was his touchdown pass to Harline. Giving up 8 out of 11 third conversion attempts is just demoralizing for any defense. Where Beck shone brightest was once again in converting third downs. It was just another great outing for Beck.

Running Backs: A

Curtis Brown may have had his best overall game of the season today running for 124 yards while catching 5 passes for 44 yards. Brown also scored twice as he finally secured BYU's all-time leading rusher mark for himself.

Fui Vakapuna and Manase Tonga both were effective when called upon. Good yardage was gained on most running plays as the Cougar ground-game looked better than it has in recent weeks.

Wide Receivers: A

Every time the ball was thrown accurately to the outside receivers, they made plays. They ran open all night long and all four in the rotation got involved. McKay Jacobson may have made the Cougar catch of the year on his first touchdown pass. He reached over a defender who played the ball very well and wrestled it away from him for BYU's first touchdown. Jacobson has turned in two highlight reel plays in the past two weeks.

Michael Reed proved effective on short slants, Matt Allen converted a good deal of corner routes – one of which went for a score – while Zac Collie hauled in his share of long slants over the middle. The Cougar wideouts have been extremely consistent all year and this game proved no different.

Inside Receivers: A

What was just said for the outside receivers can be said for the tight ends and Nate Miekle running out of the inside slot position.

Offensive Line: A-

They gave Beck good protection throughout the game while getting a much better push upfield on running plays than in recent weeks. They also did not have a single holding call against them if memory serves correctly.

Defensive Line: B

New Mexico was able to run the ball effectively and the pass rush left much to be desired, especially against the O-line that gives up the most sacks per game in the league. It was not a bad game by the BYU front three, but not the dominant outing they are capable of.

Linebackers: B

For the first time this year, the linebackers did not earn an "A" grade. Over-pursuit, missed assignments, and missed open-field tackles happened much more today than they have since the Boston College game. Like the defensive line, the linebackers did not play poorly, but definitely did not have their best game collectively.

Cornerbacks: B+

Again the Cougar corners refused to get beat deep. They had more passes completed on them than they have in recent weeks, but held the Lobo passing attack in check throughout the game. What did suffer today was Justin Robinson's open-field tackling as he whiffed several times on tackles he has made routinely in recent weeks.

Safeties: A-

Quinn Gooch made several great stops out of the backfield, and again, the safeties allowed nothing over the top of coverage.

Special Teams: A-

Decent returns on most occasions and very good coverages again on special teams marked today's game, just like it has all season long. It was not the breakout performance by the special teams that they had last week, but again, a very, very solid outing. BYU won the special teams battle in just about every game this year which has been historically uncommon for Cougar football teams.

Offensive MVP: Curtis Brown

Defensive MVP: Quinn Gooch


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