Cougar Curve: Tulsa 55, BYU 47

Grades are in for Saturday's heartbreaking 55-47 loss to the Golden Hurricane of Tulsa. Inexcusable penalties, dropped passes, missed blocks, poor ball security and ridiculous special teams execution contributed largely to the debacle Tulsa. For a team that prides itself on disciplined execution, the lack thereof was what did BYU in at the end.

Quarterback: B+

It's hard to pin a loss on a quarterback who throws for well over 500 yards. Hall did everything he could to keep BYU in the game, while the offense managed to shoot itself in the foot over and over and over again throughout the course of the game.

Hall obviously wasn't perfect. He threw some unfortunate interceptions, but they weren't entirely his fault. He's now three games into his career as BYU's starting quarterback, and he stood tall in the pocket and left it on the field while being failed by those around him throughout the game.

Running Backs: B-

The Cougars were productive running the ball when offensive coordinator Robert Anae chose to use the run. Harvey Unga had a nice game, while Manase Tonga showed some uncharacteristic brick hands throughout the game by dropping some passes he usually snags with regularity.

Picking up blitzes was very much lacking throughout the game by BYU's backfield. Fui Vakapuna was missed after getting hurt in the first half, forcing Joe Semanoff, who's not as sound at picking up blitzes as Tonga, to take more reps.

Wide Receivers: B+

The Cougar wide receivers were very productive throughout the game, with Michael Reed and Matt Allen leading the charge. The Tulsa defense did extremely well in taking Austin Collie away as an option for Hall, but Allen and especially Reed stepped in to take up the load.

That said, Reed dropped a crucial pass on BYU's second-to-last effort to get the ball into the end zone. It should have been an easy completion and would have set up second-down and 10 yards to go from the 12. Instead, the yardage remained 20 yards, and two incompletions effectively ended the team effort to win the game.

Tight Ends: B+

As Dennis Pitta goes, so does the Cougar offense early on in the season. Hall was able to find the talented Cougar tight end effectively as the first quarter came to a close, and utilized him well from there on out. Vic So'oto and Andrew George were relative no-shows, and George ending the game by fumbling away his only catch.

Offensive Line: D+

While the push was good and they wore down Tulsa's front, some incredible mental mistakes were made throughout the game to help secure Tulsa's victory. The OL again showed weakness on the edge with pass-blocking for Hall, as the outside pressure again disrupted Hall from completing some plays.

Dallas Reynolds struggled down the stretch, as a missed block led to a Hall fumble when BYU was about to score. Sete Aulai was perhaps the most consistent lineman of the bunch, although he was flagged several times for holding and personal fouls. Ray Feinga threw in a hold for good measure, and David Oswald struggled with pass-blocking and managEd a false start.

Travis Bright managed to set his team back 25 combined yards during the final seven minutes of the game. A stupid late hit, combined with two illegal procedure penalties in a row, contributed mightily to the loss tonight. As BYU looked poised to score from the 12, Bright was incredibly whistled twice for illegal procedure from his offensive guard position on passing plays.

The lack of discipline on the Cougar offensive front was staggering. While they were looked at to be the strength of the team heading into the season, it's the offensive line that is contributing as much as any other position group in securing BYU's two losses this season.

Defensive Line: D+

They weren't a factor throughout the game. Jan Jorgensen had a sack and they proved stout at times, but Tulsa was able to do what they wanted offensively throughout the game. A young Tulsa offensive line was able to move around the Cougar defensive front way too easily tonight.

Linebackers: D+

Tulsa's offensive coordinator did an amazing job in neutralizing the Cougar linebackers from being the effective playmakers they can be. Bryan Kehl was not much of a factor throughout the game, and he wasn't all that involved in the course of most plays. Tulsa was able to exploit the Cougar outside linebackers early on by completing wheel routes to their RBs for big yardage.

The middle did show well early, with Kelly Poppinga making some nice plays up the middle. Overall, the Cougar linebackers did not make themselves much of a factor, as Tulsa romped for 55 points.

Cornerbacks: D-

The Cougar corners were beat time and again, doing their best pre-Jaime Hill imitation. Tulsa was able to exploit them deep effectively and often. Ben Criddle had an early interception that the offense was unable to capitalize on, but was beat repeatedly down the field, leading to Tulsa touchdowns.

Kayle Buchanan did not finish the game, as Brandon Howard subbed for him and did a decent job not getting beat down the field like his counterparts. It was a night the Cougar corners would do well to soon forget.

Safeties: F

Quinn Gooch had his worst game as a Cougar starting safety from this observer's perspective, as he struggled mightily to provide effective over-the-top coverage. He also wasn't a force in hitting guys out of the backfield; instead, he was run over all night long. Gooch has been one of the more solid and consistent contributors in the Cougar defense, but tonight he simply wasn't there.

Corby Hodgkiss was very much a non-factor throughout the game. He didn't knock down any passes and did not providing good run-support. The Tulsa offensive scheme had the Cougar safeties on their heels all night and exploited them at every turn.

Special Teams: C-

It's incredible that Cougar fans are still having to hold their collective breath on simple extra point attempts. Had the Cougars even managed a touchdown at the end, a two-point conversion would have had to be converted in order to tie the game, due to two botched extra point attempts.

The only thing saving the special teams from a solid F grade was a very good outing from punter C.J. Santiago, coupled with effective returns on kickoffs by Austin Collie. Then again, Collie unfortunately saw a lot of work returning kicks, as Tulsa scored at ease throughout the ball game.

Offensive MVP: Max Hall

Defensive MVP: Brandon Howard


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