Cougar Curve: Florida State 52, BYU 28

Grades are in for Saturday's disappointing loss to the Seminoles. It was a game where the Cougars were manhandled on the defensive side of the football from start to finish, leading to some very low grades.

Quarterback: B

Max Hall put together a pretty good outing with all things considered, going 19-of-30 for 304 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw three interceptions, but it's difficult to assign much fault on two of those, with one coming as a result of a tipped ball. The other one should have been one of the more obvious pass interference penalties you'll see, as the interceptor grabbed hold of Andrew George's jersey, thereby stunting the route and catapulting himself to the football.

Hall had the offense humming for the most part despite BYU's tremendous deficiencies on defense, although he was unable to close on some late drives when the game was still in reach - albeit a far reach. The offensive execution wasn't the problem Saturday.

Running Back: B+

Harvey Unga was back and looked like his old self in rushing the football 10 times for 97 yards. The problem with Unga's performance comes with the fact that he was only able to run it the 10 times that he did, as the offense was forced to play from behind the entire game.

The running game was working well and it would have likely have been a big day for Unga if offensive coordinator Robert Anae had enough time to let the run game work. Bryan Kariya accounted for one of the bigger plays of the day on a long pass but was quiet for most of the game, as was J.J. DiLuigi. Manase Tonga was productive in catching four passes for 40 yards and a touchdown.

Wide Receiver: B+

The wideouts had a good game collectively. O'Neill Chambers was used often early, but had a very costly fumble on BYU's first offensive drive, which was likely to end in a touchdown. McKay Jacobson was able to beat Florida State deep for an 80-yard catch, while Luke Ashworth chipped in with a very impressive one-handed grab for a big-gainer himself.

Tight End: B-

Dennis Pitta didn't have the sort of game that Cougar fans have become accustomed to, although he still did manage five catches for 60 yards. There were at least two occasions where Hall and Pitta weren't on the same page - which is very unusual - subsequently leading to incompletions. Andrew George was very effective early, accounting for two catches on third-down situations.

Offensive Line: B+

The offensive line did well in providing an effective push during running plays and giving Hall plenty of time in the pocket on most passing plays. There were a couple of occasions where the protection broke down, leading to sacks that killed some late drives. It was nice to see Braden Hansen return and play the entire game at left guard.

Defensive Line: D-

I never thought I'd end up giving this unit any grade lower than a C this year, but Saturday they got pushed around and otherwise dominated by the Seminole front. The nose tackle position in particular saw substandard production, as they had to make do without starter Russell Tialavea after he went out early in the first quarter due to injury and didn't return.

Going into the game the defense had plenty to defend on their plate, but the fact that they couldn't even defend runs up the middle effectively severely limited what Jaime Hill could throw at the Seminoles. Every blitz was picked up, every run attempt fell forward for positive yardage and every scramble out of the pocket went for good yardage by Florida State Saturday.

Linebacker: D

With the defensive line playing poorly, it greatly affected the play of the linebackers. The great tackling that defined the first two games all but disappeared, as Florida State backs were able to cut it back against the grain to the outside while avoiding tacklers and then fall forward for an extra two yards on virtually every play.

The linebackers were also all but helpless in the weak side flat for the duration of the game. This is an area that was exploited time and again last season, and it was more of the same Saturday. Every time Florida State would run play-action or a bootleg it would lead to a wide open receiver in the flat. Florida State killed this defense by completing passes just 3-to-5 yards past the line of scrimmage, which is where the linebackers defend.

This past week I asked Andrew Rich what was making the defense so much better this year, to which he cautioned that last year's defense was pretty good through the first two games last year as well. We all obviously know what happened last year and hopefully the defense can rebound and put this game behind them.

Cornerback: B-

The corners actually didn't play all that bad Saturday. Brandon Bradley was effective in his pass defense and in his open-field tackling. Brian Logan again proved able in his tackling, but Florida State was able to exploit his 5-foot-6-inch height to their advantage, which may become a common theme for the rest of the season.

Safety: C

Scott Johnson didn't play even one down, but it's doubtful that he would have provided much of a difference, as the defense wasn't beat by blown coverages. They were just beat in every other way possible, as FSU did what they wanted in the flats, around the edges and up the gut of the Cougar defense.

Special Teams: B

The special teams were fine, as they didn't play much of a factor because Florida State was able to score from any point of the football field. The kickoffs saw some improvement, and it appears that Riley Stephenson will be handling those responsibilities for the rest of the year.


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