Cougar Curve: BYU 42, Colorado State 23

BYU won its conference opener against Colorado State in a game where BYU was able to exploit some critical errors by the Rams early on during the game. Grades are in for Saturday's game on both sides of the football.

Quarterback: C+

Max Hall had a subpar outing by his standards, completing 18 of his 29 passes for 241 yards and two touchdowns. He also accounted for two interceptions that killed drives and kept the game closer than it probably should have been.

Colorado State looked exploitable through the air going in, but Hall and the passing game never really got cranking like it has in most games over the past two seasons. To his credit, Hall did continue to spread the ball around well, but fans should expect better from their senior quarterback.

Running Backs: B+

Harvey Unga looked very close to his old self, showing the great combination of speed, quickness and power that makes him one of the best backs ever to play at BYU. He accounted for three touchdowns on the day while running for well over 100 yards on the ground.

Both Bryan Kariya and J.J. DiLuigi saw some good work, but were otherwise not big factors during Saturday's game. Manase Tonga looked as good as he has all season in lead-blocking and running the football.

Wide Receivers: B

O'Neill Chambers appears to be on the cusp of being a real go-to receiver if he can prove more consistent. Chambers finished the day without a fumble, but did drop what should have been an easy touchdown pass late in the game. What he did do was gain more yards than any other Cougar receiver while catching a critical third-down pass late in the game that all but locked up the victory for the Cougars.

McKay Jacobson had his quietest game of the year and was flagged for a very questionable pass-interference penalty on a play that would have gone for big yardage. Both Luke Ashworth and Spencer Hafoka chipped in, with Hafoka catching the first touchdown pass of his career.

Tight End: B-

Both Andrew George and Dennis Pitta were a bit quiet Saturday, with George only accounting for a single catch. Pitta had five grabs on the night, including a gorgeous touchdown reception in the back of the end zone, but considering what fans are used to, Pitta was relatively quiet.

Offensive Line: B+

The offensive line got a good push on running plays and gave Hall good time to operate during passing plays. The guards really stuck out to me Saturday, as both Terence Brown and Braden Hansen are doing a very good job in getting solid blocks forward while using their feet and technique well in pass-blocking.

Defensive Line: B-

Romney Fuga was the standout here, playing perhaps his best game as a Cougar. He accounted for nine tackles on the day, which is outstanding for a nose tackle. The Cougar front gave up very little up the middle. But, they still lacked a good pass rush for most of the game, although they were certainly improved in this area when compared to last week.

Both Jan Jorgensen and Brett Denney were relatively quiet given their two-gap assignments to just basically take up blockers, which they did well. Vic So'oto showed well, accounting for a sack late in the game.

Linebackers: C

Matt Bauman played only a few snaps during the game and it showed. Colorado State was able to get too many yards in the middle of coverage and in the strong side flat, where Jordan Pendleton again struggled a bit. Pendleton did show very well in some coverage situations while guarding wide receivers as far as 20 yards downfield.

Cornerbacks: C+

Brian Logan was picked on a lot Saturday by the Colorado State offense, but did okay considering how much work they made him do. Logan never got beat bad, as he had relatively good coverage on just about every occasion. Where Logan struggled at times was in making plays on the ball, as he's limited by his 5-foot-6-inch height. This lead to some pass interference penalties, and it will be interesting to note how teams attack Logan from here on out.

CSU didn't throw Brandon Bradley's way often, as he showed well throughout the game. Lee Aguirre did not rotate in and neither did Robbie Buckner, as Jaime Hill again chose to go with his same defensive backs throughout the game.

Safeties: B-

Andrew Rich showed well in early situations, accounting for some good tackles along the line of scrimmage. Scott Johnson was very involved in recording a fair share of tackles from his free safety position. Both Rich and Johnson, however, missed some assignments, which they'll work to improve on this coming week.

The defense again did not employ a nickel package, which is a little surprising considering how relatively deep the secondary is compared to last season. Aguirre, Buckner, Shiloah Te'o and Craig Bills are players that have shown very well during practice situations, but so far have remained on the bench save for subbing in due to injuries to the starters.

Special Teams: A-

This was an area that was vastly improved considering how poor the overall play of the special teams have been so far this season, particularly the kicking game. Riley Stephenson had an okay day in both punting and kickoff duty. The kick coverage was very good throughout the day, while a blocked punt early in the game by Matt Marshall gave the team a well-needed cushion.


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