Max Hall didn't have as many yards as he had in weeks past, but was nevertheless productive, throwing for nearly 300 yards and three touchdowns. Hall is very much settled in as BYU's starting quarterback and great things should be expected of him from here on out to the end of his career.
Hall's most impressive sequence today came during BYU's first possession of the second half. He got shaken up pretty good on the very first play, but came back to finish out the eventual touchdown drive. On the drive, Hall completed a pass to Dennis Pitta up the seam on a third-and-20. He followed that up by hitting Harvey Unga for a touchdown on fourth-and-long, on a play in which he stood in the pocket and calmly went through his progressions.
Running Backs: A-
The Cougar running backs were very productive throughout the day. Running the football was no problem as Manase Tonga, Harvey Unga and Joe Semanoff combined for 148 yards on the ground. As the game wore on so did the Air Force defense, and the running attack improved throughout the course of the game.
The most impressive aspect of Saturday's game was how the running backs worked in picking up blitzes and in catching the ball out of the backfield. Air Force was a blitzing defense and blitzed on just about every play, but that proved ineffective in large part due to the running backs picking up their assignments through blocking and releasing up the field for passes with very good precision. It was a very solid outing from the Cougar running backs.
Wide Receivers: B
Their grade was hurt due to Austin Collie sitting out almost the entire game due to injury. In his stead, Michael Reed and Matt Allen were both steady and productive. Allen had a couple of highlight reel catches, while Reed was able to get open to the tune of three catches for 38 yards.
Tight Ends: A
Dennis Pitta up the seam of the Falcon coverage was the signature play for Saturday's game. Air Force was unable to cover him, as Hall went to him time and again during critical situations. Pitta finished with five catches for 114 yards, while Andrew George and Vic So'oto had solid games that won't appear on the stat sheet.
Offensive Line: B+
While it took the run game a short while to get going, it did get going very well in the second half as the offensive line proved dominant. The pass protection was very solid throughout the game for the most part, with only a few hiccups. Penalties, however, again reared their ugly head, as the Cougar offensive front was whistled numerous times for holding penalties and a couple of times for illegal procedure penalties.
Just about every holding call came during running plays, which usually isn't the norm with an offensive line. We're still waiting for a clean game from the offensive line, and hopefully it will be coming here shortly. Despite the penalties, however, it was an all-around solid outing by the "big uglies."
Defensive Line: A-
The Cougar defensive front shut down the Air Force ground game throughout the day. Air Force was never able to get going in large part due to the efforts of the Cougar defensive line. They were also to pressure Carney by using twists and stunts often to get to the Air Force quarterback time and again, forcing incompletions and recording a few sacks.
Kelly Poppinga has been the unsung hero on this defense so far this year. He again had a very productive game in solidifying the middle and shooting gaps for impressive stops. David Nixon and Bryan Kehl each wreaked their own havoc on the edges. It was an all-around very solid outing by the Cougar linebackers.
Secondary : B+
The safeties rebounded nicely from a week ago, not allowing anything over the top of coverage. A few coverage lapses were there, but Air Force was unable to capitalize, save for one long pass that led to their only score on the day. The safeties were very good in run support as well. The defense held stout and dominated the Air Force attack.
Special Teams: B
Good kicking and punting with mediocre kick coverage warrants a "B" grade. What was nice is that the Cougar special teams did not contribute in a negative way. Hopefully the coming weeks will see the Cougar special teams improve to where they help the Cougar cause rather than merely not working against it. Overall , a very solid outing by the Cougar special teams and was by far their best collective performance of the year.
Offensive MVP: Harvey Unga
Defensive MVP: David Nixon/Kelly Poppinga