Cougar Curve: BYU 27, TCU 22

Grades are in for the Cougar position groups following Thursday night's victory over TCU. The game was a slugfest which saw the Cougars prevail over a very talented and aggressive TCU football team. BYU remains undefeated in conference and undefeated at home over the past two years.

Quarterback: A-

Max Hall went 26-44 for 305 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Hall was able to get rid of the ball quickly and accurately, stunting TCU's pass rush on most occasions. He was very good on third downs; the team converted 13 of 20 third down attempts, largely in part to Hall's play. Many of those third down conversions came on third-and-long, and Hall showed tremendous composure throughout the game.

Hall was also effective at running the ball, rushing for 28 yards on five carries. Hall's scrambles were purposeful and effective.

Running Back: B-

Harvey Unga found the end zone twice, and rushed for 64 yards on 16 carries, but again was BYU's only real running threat out of the backfield. Fui Vakapuna was again ineffective running the football, while Joe Semanoff and Manase Tonga each contributed lightly when getting carries.

Tonga and Unga were held relatively quiet in regards to catching the ball out of the backfield, but Semanoff contributed with a touchdown from a yard out on his only reception. Overall, it was a mediocre outing for the Cougar running back corps.

Wide Receiver: B+

Austin Collie again was the leader in receiving yards, hauling in four passes for 109 yards. Matt Allen made a spectacular grab on the sideline on a ball that was overthrown. Michael Reed meanwhile was moderately effective, catching three passes for 23 yards.

Tight End: A-

Dennis Pitta again gave the impression that Hall could go to him any time he wanted, creating matchup problems down the field. Pitta had seven catches for 88 yards and had a touchdown catch reversed.

Andrew George and Vic So'oto both had two receptions, but So'oto coughed up for a fumble. So'oto needs to rectify his ball-security issues if he wants to become a bigger part of the offensive game plan.

Offensive Line: B

TCU was able to mount a good pass rush on the edges with Ortiz and Blake, but Hall was able to thwart that in large part due to his quick releases. Most of the pressure again came from Hall's right side, as right tackle remains a week spot in overall pass protection.

The Cougar OL did well relative to what was a very good TCU Horned Frog defensive unit. They helped mount an effective running attack during key moments of the game, although the Cougar ground yards were limited.

Defensive Line: B+

Jan Jorgensen had an outstanding first half of football, accounting for some big plays and sacks. He remained effective throughout the game. Brett Denney stepped up in a big way for an injured Ian Dulan, while Eathyn Manumaleuna, Rick Wolfley and Mosese Foketi were stout up the middle. TCU wasn't able to mount an effective running attack in large part due to the Cougar DL winning the battle at the point of attack.

Linebacker: A

The Cougar linebackers returned to make big play after big play throughout the night. David Nixon made two of the biggest plays of the night, stopping TCU in the backfield on a fourth-and-short attempt and then recording a sack later in the game, which effectively ended TCU's hopes.

Kelly Poppinga led the team in tackles, as he was in the right spot at the right time all night long. Bryan Kehl came on strong toward the end of the game, asserting himself every time he was allowed to blitz. Limiting Kehl's sack opportunities is the fact that he has been left in coverage for the better of most defensive sets due to his effectiveness in the open field.

Safeties: A-

Quinn Gooch went out late in the game with what looked to be a very serious injury. Hopefully Gooch can return soon and finish out his senior season. Overall, the safeties were very effective, as TCU was held in check deep down the field.

Cornerback: B

The Cougar corners teamed with the safeties in neutralizing TCU's opportunities down the field. The cushion was a bit too soft on too many passes out to the flat, which helped the Horned Frogs sustain drives.

Offensive MVP: Max Hall

Defensive MVP: Kelly Poppinga


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