Cougar Curve: BYU 38, Air Force 24

The Cougars came alive during the second half of Saturday's game, earning themselves an impressive road win over a solid Air Force team. While missed opportunities defined the first half, it was the team's ability to make plays on both sides of the ball that carried the team to victory. Grades are in for every position group regarding how they performed Saturday.

Quarterback: B+

Max Hall was up to the standard he's set, going 27-of-36 passing for 352 yards and two touchdowns. Hall also accounted for an interception when a pass of his was knocked off course at the line of scrimmage, and there were a couple of other passes that could have been picked off. Hall fumbled the ball once as well.

Other than a few hiccups, Hall was surgical in how he operated against the Air Force defense. Hall was accurate, made the right reads, and picked up some key third downs. Again, this is the type of play we've come to expect from Hall, who has been extremely good for four games running now as the Cougar offense is performing at a very high level.

Running Back: B

Harvey Unga turned in his typical 90-yard, two-touchdown game, while Fui Vakapuna took on a lot more of the running load than he has in most games this year. Vakapuna responded well, carrying the ball seven times for 32 yards and a touchdown.

What was lacking was good pass protection by Vakapuna on occasion, which led to some sacks during the first half. Vakapuna fared much better with picking up blitzes in the second half, as did the entire offensive front.

Wide Receiver: A-

It's difficult to imagine Austin Collie playing any better than he is currently. The percentage of completions when Hall targets Collie these days has to be close to 90 percent, if not more, as they've really improved on this over the past four games.

Michael Reed was involved, but wasn't a huge factor during the game. Reed had a terrible offensive pass interference call go against him that aided Air Force in taking the lead in the first half. Reed had his usual great day blocking, as did Collie, as they both aided the run game in leading to some big plays.

Tight End: A

What can you say about Dennis Pitta? He again was very good in getting the Cougar offense out to a big start. Pitta was dominant, while Andrew George had a nice game when he got involved in the passing game.

Offensive Line: B-

It was the tale of two halves for the Cougar offensive line. Ray Feinga getting hurt early really affected things adversely for the offense, as R.J. Willing missed too many pass-blocking adjustments and accounted for too many penalties, as did the rest of the offensive line in general.

During the second half they really improved things. Hall did encounter some pressure, but overall the run and pass blocking was extremely good throughout the entire second half of the ball game.

Defensive Line: B+

Brett Denney, Russell Tialavea and Jan Jorgensen all had very good outings Saturday. Ian Dulan had some good plays, but was caught over-pursuing way too often, which hurts the overall grade of the defensive line. I thought that Tialavea had his best game of the year, as he stuffed the middle often on run plays.

Linebacker: B-

Matt Ah You filled in very well for the injured Shawn Doman, and he and David Nixon were the best linebacker on the field Saturday. Matt Bauman got caught out of position on occasion, but had a solid outing nevertheless, and the same thing could be said for Coleby Clawson. Terrance Hooks got a lot of playing time, but it's becoming very clear that he's still not quite ready for playing time following his return from a patella tendon injury.

Safety: B-

Kellen Fowler did very well with containment and with his over-the-top coverage. BYU was never beaten deep or caught out of position on play action, and Fowler gets most of the credit for this. Fowler was also good in run support. David Tafuna was again hit-and-miss in his run support and pass coverage, making both good and bad plays throughout the afternoon.

Cornerback: B+

The corners don't have much to do against Air Force, but what they did, they did well. Brandon Howard subbed in late for the injured Andrew Rich and made the game-sealing interception, and also provided great coverage throughout the game.

Special Teams: A-

The special teams saw superb play Saturday in every area. Special props go out to Spencer Hadley, who forced and then recovered a key fumble early in the second half while in kick coverage. David Nixon accounted for a blocked field goal, and overall the special teams went a long way in helping the Cougar cause.


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