It was business as usual for Max Hall, who completed 25-of-30 passes for 317 yards and three touchdowns. In addition to his precision passing, Hall again showed some ability to scramble out of the pocket for some gains. Hall was nails Saturday, hitting his receivers in time and with accuracy.
Running Back: B-
It was another ho-hum day from the Cougar running backs. They weren't bad, but they certainly didn't have the game many in-conference running backs have had against the porous Aztec defense. Both Harvey Unga and Fui Vakapuna were efficient enough without breaking out for many big gains.
Both Wayne Latu and Bryan Kariya were able to contribute, while J.J. DiLuigi was left on the bench during Saturday's game. It would have been nice to see more work from the second-string running backs, but that didn't happen, save for Latu's several carries - including a touchdown run - during the second half.
Wide Receiver: A
Austin Collie continued to dominate, as he's proven to be uncover able during the last three games. Hall and Collie are in sync and looking scary to opposing defenses. Michael Reed had his best game since his injury, which was a welcome sight.
The other wideouts didn't get involved much at all, which would have been a welcome bonus, but overall it's difficult to imagine both Collie and Reed performing any better than they did Saturday.
Tight End: A
Dennis Pitta continued to make some great catches during the game Saturday. Pitta is proving to have some of the best set of hands any Cougar tight end or wideout has had. Andrew George got involved as well and had a touchdown catch.
Offensive Line: C
The run game never really found its stride like many expected it would while going against a very weak San Diego State defensive front. The pass blocking was suspect as well, as they gave up some uncharacteristic sacks. It was an efficient game for the offensive line, but not the dominating performance most expected going into the game.
It was also a bit disappointing not to see much production from the second-team offensive line when it went in late in the game. The second unit was unable to give enough push or protection for Brenden Gaskins and company to put anything together late in the game, which was a bit disappointing.
Defensive Line: B+
Russell Tialavea looked quicker and more like his old self Saturday than he has at any time this season, I thought. Tialavea was jumping plays and splitting blocks quite effectively, leading to some good run stuffs. The pass rush was again lacking, although they only rushed three down linemen on most occasions.
This was the best game the Cougar linebackers have had for quite some time. David Nixon in particular was all over the field making play after play in his last game at LES. Coleby Clawson was very involved and saw a lot of improvement since his last outing.
On the inside Shawn Doman stepped up to make some big plays, as did Matt Ah You. Terrance Hooks played a lot more than he has in recent games and seems to be getting his timing back. Hopefully the good play by the linebackers carries over to next week, as they'll have to be at their best to stop the Air Force triple option.
Considering the depth problems this group has had to overcome, this unit deserves a boost to its overall grade accordingly. Andrew Rich played the entire game at boundary corner and looked as if he'd been playing the position for years. Rich provides the sort of physical and athletic presence to the Cougar backfield that can really benefit this team.
Brandon Howard also continues to improve. Howard left the game with an injury, but returned as the game winded down. Brandon Bradley was able to sub in effectively for Howard at field corner, which helped out tremendously. Overall I thought Saturday was a very good effort from the Cougar corners.
Special Teams: B
C.J. Santiago punted the ball very well, save for his final shank, while Justin Sorensen looks reborn in regards to kicking the ball deep during kickoffs. Both the coverage and return units were effective but not spectacular. Saturday witnessed an efficient outing from the special teams in general.