Cougar Curve: BYU 54, Tulane 3

BYU romped Saturday over the Green Wave, as virtually everything went right for the Cougars. They weren't perfect overall, but pretty darn close to it in regards to their execution on both sides of the football. As one could readily imagine, the grades are pretty high across the board for each position group.

Quarterback: A-

Max Hall spread the ball around about as well as he's done in any game over his career. During the game he hit almost every eligible receiver that dressed for the game, but did have one hiccup in throwing an interception and thereby preventing him from an A grade. Hall finished the day going 24-of-32 for 303 yards and two touchdowns.

Riley Nelson got into the game late and led the team to a touchdown, executing very well on both his runs and his two passes. It was good game-experience for Nelson and the backups, which will benefit the overall depth of the offense.

Running Back: A

Harvey Unga played, but wasn't seen past the first quarter as he continues to rest up his sore hamstring. It was a good move, as it's difficult to imagine how the offensive production could have been much better on the day. The backups to Unga more than sufficed.

J.J. Di Luigi was the standout running back Saturday and had a career game. He was very quick and agile through the line and showed some good strength. Bryan Kariya played much like he did against Oklahoma and combined with Di Luigi for 134 yards on 24 carries and three touchdowns.

Manase Tonga's best work was done in picking up blitzes effectively and in lead blocking while adding a couple of nice runs and a reception. Anthony Heimuli saw a lot of time backing him up and gained some good experience as a result.

One would think that missing Unga and everything he brings to the offense would be a tremendous blow, but that certainly hasn't been the case, as others have stepped up big at the position. It speaks well to the overall talent and depth of the football team in general.

Wide Receiver: A-

O'Neill Chambers proved to be very capable once again, catching four passes and adding some punishing blocks on the outside. McKay Jacobson had a long pass for a touchdown and was quietly productive while not seeing many reps down the stretch due to the point differential.

It was very nice to see both Luke Ashworth and Spencer Hafoka receiving more reps and responding as a result. Ashworth accounted for some nice gains, although he didn't adjust well to the football on what could have been a touchdown reception. Hafoka meanwhile contributed two catches of his own. Brett Thompson got into the game late and recorded his first collegiate reception.

Tight End: B+

It was the Dennis Pitta show early on before he gave way to the rest of the offense. He finished the game with four catches for 47 yards. Andrew George showed well in catching a couple of passes for 28 yards, although he did drop a pass.

Offensive Line: A

Along with the Cougar defensive front, the offensive line was the best position group on the field Saturday. The linemen protected Hall well, got a great push on running plays and all but pushed around the Tulane front from start to finish.

Braden Hansen went down in what could be an ACL injury, although there is no definitive word on the injury as of yet. It would be a shame to lose such a promising offensive lineman so early in the season during a game that proved to be a laugher, so we certainly hope it isn't serious.

In his stead Marco Thorson provided very good play, while players such as Fono Vakalahi and Ryan Freeman were able to get plenty of reps down the stretch.

Defensive Line: A

The defensive front snuffed out the Tulane run game early and didn't let up throughout the game. It would be difficult and almost impossible to criticize anything they did as a unit on Saturday.

Vic So'oto showed very well late, indicating some great future play should he get a majority of the reps following this season. Fans should expect dominating play from this unit considering their depth and experience, and through two games this season they have dominated the course of play.

Linebacker: A

I'm again struggling to find fault in anything the defense did out there Saturday. All the starters were productive, with Shawn Doman and Grant Nelson stepping up big to only add to the high level of play. It was great to see players such as Shane Hunter and Jordan Atkinson get in late to defend what proved to be a rather anemic Tulane offensive attack.

Safety: A

Scott Johnson went down with another apparent concussion, but should be fine. Shiloah Te'o went in to replace him and the defense didn't miss a beat. Te'o has been well-seasoned during practice situations and showed very well throughout the game.

I didn't notice Andrew Rich much, as most of Tulane's plays were stopped at the line of scrimmage. It was a game where the defense didn't have to rely much on the play of the safeties because Tulane proved unable to make yards down the middle of the field.

Craig Bills got in late and recorded his first interception as a collegiate player. Bills and Te'o both provide very good backup options for Johnson and Rich.

Cornerback: A

Both Brandon Bradley and Brian Logan were very good again Saturday. Logan showed great ability to tackle in the open field, while I didn't notice Bradley much at all during the game. When you don't notice a cornerback while watching the game on television, it more times than not indicates that he's shutting down his coverage assignment.

Lee Aguirre, Corby Eason and Robbie Buckner all got in and all showed well during mop-up duty. Overall the depth at both cornerback and at safety appears to be the best it's been since Bronco Mendenhall became head coach.

Special Teams: C

The kick coverage was very good, but the kicking game was again spotty at best. It's hopeful that Mitch Payne will be able to go a game without kicking a ball out of bounds, as it can change the course of a ball game against a better and more capable opponent by letting them start a drive on the 40-yard line. Missing an extra point is also inexcusable. Payne did connect on his two field goal attempts, which is positive, but he showed little if any improvement upon his poor outing against Oklahoma.

Riley Stephenson didn't get a chance to punt the football, but was called upon to replace Payne on kickoffs. While his initial kickoff looked very good, he too managed to kick a ball out of bounds and was unable to kick the football anywhere close to the goal line.

Fortunately the play of both the offense and defense has been so good and consistent that the failure of the kicking game hasn't proved to have much effect. Once BYU does get in a close game, which may come as early as next week, then the poor kicking game could prove very detrimental to the football team.


Total Blue Sports Top Stories