Cougar Curve: BYU 31, New Mexico 24

The Cougars won out in a bit of a slugfest against New Mexico, 31-24, in a game that had a bit of everything. While the offense didn't roll as many predicted, they did enough, and the defense came up with key plays during critical situations to earn a well-fought victory in some very tough environs.

Quarterback: B-

Tonight was probably Max Hall's least impressive start of his career, but despite that, he made plays when he had to. Hall went 18-40 for 254 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Hall had difficulty seeing the coverage in the first half, but settled in somewhat during the second half of play. He made the play that sealed the victory, scrambling out of the pocket for a first down, effectively ending New Mexico's chances on the final drive of the game.

Running Backs: B

It was an efficient game for the Cougar running backs. Harvey Unga and Manase Tonga combined for 153 yards through the air and on the ground. Tonga did a great job throughout the game in picking up blitzes, which was key for the victory tonight.

Wide Receivers: B

Austin Collie gutted through his high ankle sprain to combine with Hall on the best offensive play of the night, a 62-yard TD reception on third-and-long. Matt Allen and Michael Reed both had too few moments to warrant a higher grade, as New Mexico's DBs were able to hold them in check tonight.

Tight Ends: B

Dennis Pitta again had a nice game, catching four balls for 49 yards and a touchdown. Andrew George made a great effort on a touchdown pass that wasn't, as it was overturned by the officials on a questionable call. Although Pitta was prominent in the offensive production, it would be nice to see Vic So'oto and George more involved.

Offensive Line: C+

For the most part they handled New Mexico's furious and constant barrage of blitzes. They were far from perfect and way too much pressure was able to be applied from Hall's right side during the game. The OL was able to mount an effective running attack as the game wore down, but it was hardly the dominant effort we're all waiting for this season.

Penalties also reared their ugly head, as the OL was whistled twice for holding calls, which was followed up by a bad exchange between Hall and Tonga, resulting in a turnover deep in BYU's own territory. The Lobos were able to convert the turnover into a touchdown, changing the game when BYU looked like they would coast to victory.

Defensive Line: B-

The DL was effective at the point of attack, as Ferguson's yards came through bobbing and weaving his way through the line, breaking tackle attempts by those backing up the line. Too little pressure was applied when the Cougars only rushed their three down linemen.

Linebackers: B

Bryan Kehl had some eye-popping plays, while David Nixon showed through well with some great plays of his own. The middle linebackers were effective, although Ferguson broke too many tackle attempts for anyone's liking.

Cornerbacks: A-

The CBs get a boost to their overall grade, considering Ben Criddle was out of the lineup. Kayle Buchanan and Andre Saulsberry both allowed nothing to get behind them, showing discipline and good skills in keeping New Mexico's two outstanding wideouts in check throughout the game.

Safeties: B-

The safeties, like the cornerbacks, did their job well in allowing nothing to be thrown against them down the field. What was missing from their play was good run-support, as Ferguson bounced off tackle attempts by Corby Hodgkiss and Quinn Gooch way too often. The safeties' first responsibility is obviously to protect against the deep ball, and they did that very well.

Special Teams: B+

Overall it was the best special teams effort of the year so far. Good, long punts, no missed extra points, and a converted field goal attempt highlighted the special teams play. Brian Smith kicked the ball out of bounds twice, which worked to hold the grade down, but overall all facets of the special teams worked to help the Cougars to victory.

Offensive MVP: Austin Collie

Defensive MVP: Bryan Kehl

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