Cougar Curve: BYU 24, UNLV 14

The Cougars got started a bit late after shooting themselves in the foot for much of the first half. They kicked it in gear during the second half, cruising to a 24-14 victory and running rampant over the Rebel defensive front. Grades are in for the game.

Quarterback: C+

Max Hall threw three interceptions, which kept the game a lot closer than it should have been. Hall threw for 213 yards, seeing his attempts and opportunities downfield nullified largely by BYU's emerging running attack, which took the game over. He wasn't asked to do much in this game, but did make occasional plays, including a touchdown pass to Vic So'oto.

Running Backs: A

Harvey Unga was the best player on the field, stomping all over the Rebel defense for 178 yards rushing 44 yards receiving. He continues to make more yards after the initial hit than most running backs would, and has demonstrated some solid pass-catching abilities. Unga ruled the field throughout the game.

Manase Tonga and Joe Semanoff meanwhile both had good workman-like games, running it effectively when called upon. Vic So'oto even got into the act by lead-blocking for Unga on occasion out of the backfield in the I-formation.

Wide Receivers: D

The wide receivers were nonexistent and played relatively no factor in BYU's offensive success. Dropped passes, fumbles, and an inability to break anything open was the rule for BYU's wideouts on Saturday. UNLV was playing a very deep and soft zone which limited BYU, but the wideouts proved to be non-factors and ineffective throughout the game.

Tight Ends: A-

Dennis Pitta had what has become his normal outing, catching seven passes for 96 yards, while So'oto added two catches of his own, one of which one went for a touchdown. Andrew George hauled in a pass of his own early in the game.

Offensive Line: B

It was a tale of two halves for the offensive line. Missed pass-blocking assignments lead to a sluggish start, while it was their run-blocking during the second half that put the game on ice. The second-half run-blocking was what we've been anticipating for five games now, and hopefully it will continue.

BYU's OL remains surprisingly weak at protecting the edge on passing plays. Way too much pressure has been put on Hall from the outside this season, and UNLV yet again was able to force turnovers and kill drives by getting pressure from the outside.

Defensive Line: B+

The run defense was outstanding, as Frank Summers was a non-factor for the better part of the game. The pass rush was decent, as coaches chose to play coverage while only rushing three or four players on most passing downs. It was an overall very solid effort from the Cougar defensive front.

Linebackers: A-

Bryan Kehl had another outstanding game, making play after play against UNLV's struggling offense. The tackling was very solid, as Summers wasn't able to break many tackles. Chris Bolden had a lot of playing time and was equal to the challenge. The linebackers got it done on Saturday.

Safeties: A

Nothing was gained over-the-top of coverage by UNLV until the last drive, when the starting safeties were held out. Summers was not able to run over the second wave of tacklers, which is often the safeties, due to the effectiveness of the Cougar linebackers in holding him in check.

Cornerbacks: A-

The cornerbacks weren't beat downfield and held Ryan Wolfe in check throughout the game. Saulsberry got some reps from Ben Criddle on occasion and had another solid outing. Meanwhile, someone would have to remind me that Kayle Buchanan was playing. Buchanan saw every rep at field corner, but it was hard to tell, as he wasn't beaten throughout the game. Not noticing the play of a CB more often than not means that said CB is doing a whale of job in his coverage assignments.

Special Teams: A-

Tonight marked the best special teams effort of the year. Kickoff coverage was excellent, kickoff returns were effective, field goals and extra points were executed and the special teams got it done. Mitch Payne did boot through one of the uglier made field goals one will ever see, and one kickoff went out of bounds, but beyond that the Cougar special teams were very good tonight.

Offensive MVP: Harvey Unga

Defensive MVP: Bryan Kehl

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