Cougar Curve: BYU 44, Wyoming 0

Grades are in for Saturday's blowout of Wyoming in BYU's first conference game of the year. For the second week in a row the defense allowed zero points, as they were the main playmakers during Saturday's game. The offense did just enough, but didn't have to do much, as this game got ugly early as the Cougars coasted to victory.

Quarterback: B

It was sort of a ho-hum game for Max Hall. He didn't have to do much, but did just enough to keep the ball moving and keep BYU way ahead during the course of the game. BYU's passing attack started out slowly and wasn't as sharp against Wyoming's zone-heavy defense, particularly when compared to what it did against UCLA's man-heavy defensive scheme.

Both Brenden Gaskins and Kurt McEuen saw some good reps in place of Hall. Overall it was a mediocre effort by the quarterbacks, but then again, they weren't called on to do much Saturday.

Running Back: B+

It's become apparent late in games that teams just don't want to deal with Harvey Unga in the open field. On more than one occasion during Saturday's game and last week against UCLA, you saw defensive backs make halfhearted efforts to tackle Unga as he reached the goal line. Unga is a very punishing back and proved so again Saturday. To sum up his performance against Wyoming, Unga simply did what he does every game.

Fui Vakapuna was in prime form as Unga's lead blocker. While Saturday's game saw him miss some blocks, he absolutely punished rushing linebackers and defensive backs on occasion. On one play in particular Vakapuna cleared out not one, but two would-be tacklers, aiding Unga to a run of about 10 yards.

Bryan Kariya, Wayne Latu and J.J. DiLuigi all did fine when called upon when the game was way out of reach. Overall it was a productive outing from the BYU running backs.

Wide Receiver: B

Austin Collie ruled the play over the middle, running free and consistently open throughout much of the first half. Hall was also able to connect to Collie long for a touchdown after missing him for what should have been an easy score during the Cougars' first offensive play of the game.

It was apparent to this observer that the passing attack missed Michael Reed. Hall had to make do with a combination of Luke Ashworth, Spencer Hafoka and O'Neill Chambers in Reed's stead, and it was apparent that he doesn't have the same comfort level with these guys as he does with Reed.

While none of Reed's replacements necessarily had bad games, I was personally looking for more from them during Saturday's game. Hopefully with two weeks of practice, Hall's trust in each of them will increase and we'll see big plays from at least one of the trio.

Tight End: B

Dennis Pitta had a drop and was merely good during Saturday's game. He wasn't dominating but he didn't disappear altogether, as he did get open on occasion and did enough to maintain BYU's big lead, much like the rest of the Cougar offense.

Offensive Line: A-

The Cougar offensive line didn't allow a sack again and maintained a good push upfield in the running game. This unit is as solid as ever and has gotten it done in every game this year.

Defensive Line: B+

The Cougar defensive front did a decent job holding the Wyoming running game in check. While Coach Hill didn't call many blitzes throughout the game, it was a bit disappointing that the defensive line wasn't able to mount a better pass rush. Overall it was a good outing from the Cougar defensive front.

Linebacker: A-

This unit that has needed to make more plays made those plays during Saturday's game. David Nixon in particular showed extremely well, with Shawn Doman and Matt Bauman also both showing well during stretches.

Backups Daniel Sorensen, Michael Alisa, Jadon Wagner, Iona Pritchard and Spencer Hadley all saw a lot of playing time and played well, keeping Wyoming out of the end zone during garbage time.

Cornerback: B+

Scott Johnson continued his solid play and again showed extremely well in defending against the run. Johnson has proved to be a very good open-field tackler, which goes along well with his solid coverage.

Brandon Howard struggled a bit, but still was able to make plays on occasion. Howard does well at being where he needs to be in coverage, but hasn't quite yet made the jump where he's able to make plays when he's in the right spot. He did have a couple of good breaks on the ball and improved upon his play from the game against UCLA last week.

Brandon Bradley saw a lot of playing time and was noticeably improved from last week's performance. Bradley's upside is through the roof, and should he continue his progression he should make a strong bid for more time at boundary corner.

Safety: A-

Both Kellen Fowler and David Tafuna were very solid during Saturday's game, and both made plays. The safety play has improved, and it was nice to see Jordan Pendleton enter the game and get an interception.

Special Teams: B+

C.J. Santiago punted extremely well in perhaps his best performance at BYU. Justin Sorensen's kickoffs weren't as long as you'd hope, but he was consistent. Sorensen also was able to connect on the first field goal attempt of his career. What holds the special teams' grade down is that they allowed an extra point to get blocked, which should never happen.


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