Max Hall was struggling a bit with Oklahoma's experienced and talented secondary, along with a fierce pass rush, for much of the game. He threw two interceptions, allowing Oklahoma some opportunities that should have put the Cougars away.
What Hall did, however, is come through when the team needed it most. He engineered yet another game-winning drive, showing a cool and calm demeanor in taking the offense the length of the field and culminating the drive with his game-winning toss to McKay Jacobson.
Running Back: A-
Harvey who? When news passed on down that Harvey Unga would not play in the game, most thought that the ground game would be nonexistent. That certainly wasn't the case, however, as Bryan Kariya led the ground attack with some great runs and catches out of the backfield. Head coach Bronco Mendenhall named Kariya as the offensive MVP for the game and it would be hard to argue against that.
J.J. Di Luigi was effective as well in almost all of his touches, while Manase Tonga struggled to get anything going for the most part. What Tonga did do effectively was pass-block, aiding a lot of passes to be completed on the night.
Wide Receiver: B
O'Neill Chambers started very strong, but sort of disappeared after fumbling the ball just short of the goal line. He did show very well in his route running and in catching the football and should have a good year ahead of him.
McKay Jacobson didn't have as big of a game as I thought going in, but was there at the end to catch the winning touchdown pass. Jacobson also provided the longest play of the night with a 49-yard reception that put them in scoring position.
Tight End: A-
Dennis Pitta was nowhere to be found for a long time, but showed up when it counted. When the offense struggles or needs plays, that's when Hall goes to Pitta and that was certainly the case Saturday. He was huge on BYU's game-winning drive.
Andrew George was effective as well, making a couple of big grabs including BYU's first touchdown. Both players provide ready options that will likely continue to step up big throughout the season.
Offensive Line: A-
This was the position group that gave me the most worry entering the game. Defensive fronts don't come much more dominant than what the Sooners presented, yet the BYU offensive line held its own. While Oklahoma's new offensive line struggled out of the gate with illegal procedure penalties, the Cougar front was poised and collected.
Offensive coordinator Robert Anae aided the offensive line a lot with his play calling, which saw a bevy of quick-hitting passes, screens and dump-offs, but the line kept the front off of Hall regardless. One would have preferred a better push on short-yardage run attempts, but relatively speaking, the play of the offensive line as a whole was outstanding.
Defensive Line: A
The Sooners were never able to mount a productive run attack in large part due to the play of the Cougar defensive line. DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown rarely got past the point of attack on their running attempts without being touched or dropped before making much of any yardage.
The end play of both Jan Jorgensen and Brett Denney were certainly of note, as the Sooners were never able to gain anything going wide on the defense. The pass rush didn't account for sacks, but did pressure the Oklahoma quarterbacks many times into incompletions during critical stages of the game.
Other than the final game-winning drive mounted by Hall, it was the defense holding the Sooner offense out of the end zone after being faced with first-and -goal from the 2-yard line that won the game. The defense went with a four-man front, and Romney Fuga played a big role in keeping them out of the end zone and paving the way for the offense's game-winning drive.
BYU has found a strongside linebacker of Bryan Kehl-like play in Jordan Pendleton. If he keeps playing like he showed Saturday, it will aid the defense enormously. All game long Pendleton was quick to the ball, shutting down the flat on his side of the football. He may have been the best defensive player out there.
Coleby Clawson was solid, as has come to be expected, while the inside linebackers played downhill and filled their gap assignments very well throughout the ball game. There was a bit of a drop-off when Matt Bauman left the game with a concussion, but overall Terrance Hooks and Shawn Doman provided outstanding play during the second half.
Andrew Rich was flying around and making very good hits out of the defensive backfield. He showed his ability to cover a lot of field and hold plays to minimal yardage from his strong safety position. Rich is a defensive leader and will be one of the top defensive playmakers for the Cougars throughout the season.
Scott Johnson's name wasn't called a lot, but neither were the names of Oklahoma's wideouts for big gains. Johnson shut down the middle of the field effectively, limiting the long pass plays that the Sooners killed defenses with last season.
Brian Logan played as he had been playing throughout fall camp. What he lacks in stature he makes up for in consistent tackling, taking great angles and sticking on his coverage assignments. It was an enormous task for him to perform well in his first ever Division I game on a stage like that, but he came through huge for the team.
Brandon Bradley was equally as effective on the other side of the football. Both players were very solid in their open-field tackling and made good plays on the football during critical situations of the game.
Yes, I'm passing out A's as if they were candy for the defense, but when you hold an offense as explosive as Oklahoma's to well under 300 yards, those props are well-deserved. The defense won the game Saturday for the team, and every fan needs to understand that. After being much maligned last season, they showed up huge tonight.
Special Teams: D
The coverage units were fine and Riley Stephenson started out with two great punts before ending on a sour note with his final two efforts. McKay Jacobson made what should have been a very costly error in trying to field a punt that he should have just let go, but thanks to the defense, it didn't prove as costly as it otherwise would have.
Mitch Payne has lost something since he showed well early in his career. I don't know if he'll regain what he had, but as it stands right now, BYU is in need of a kicker.