Improvement, improvement, improvement.
Taysom Hill was an animal in the running game versus Texas. Hill rushed for 259 yards on 17 carries for an average of 15.2 yds per carry and three touchdown runs. The 68 yard run was maybe the most impressive of the night. With 2:17 to go in the 1st quarter BYU was trying to answer back on a 57 yard bomb touchdown pass from David Ash to Mike Davis. Hill's run changed momentum and showed everybody he's still got the legs. Throughout the night, Hill demonstrated vast improvement in the zone read (knowing when to give to the running back or pull around to the outside), then used his speed and balance to get up field and break tackles from safeties who took poor angles. Hill does however receive an A- for his work in the passing game. 9-26 passing simply just won't cut it once teams start stacking the box to stop Hill (which we could expect as early as the 21st).
Vs Utah, the key won't be Hill's ability to run the ball (we all know he is pretty capable at doing that, and now the rest of the nation knows as well), rather Hill's performance in the passing game will be key to a complete offense and hopefully another Cougar win.
Running Backs A-
Running backs Jamaal Williams and Paul Lasike proved to be punishing runners this week. Lasike had a breakout game with 87 yds on 15 carries and a touchdown. He has shown that his physicality in the running game is vital to how the BYU offense can wear down a defense. With the breakout ground game of Hill and Lasike, Williams's 182 yds on 30 carries (yes, 182 yds) seemed to be lost in the fray.
Williams played a stellar game showing that he is a workhorse that can be depended on in big games. Other running backs that contributed were Michael Alisa who added 23 yds on 8 carries and Adam Hine with 1 carry for 2 yds. The lone hiccup for the running backs would be a late fumble that Texas recovered after a miscommunication when Hine and Alisa ran into each other while crossing in front of Hill for the hand off.
Vs Utah the running backs will have to bring their A game again as the Ute defense will look to make the Cougar offense turn to their passing game by loading the box. Lets hope that Williams can find the end zone (still yet to do so this season) and that Lasike can repeat his efforts in the run game as well.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends B
To be honest this is a hard group to rate. Many of the passes were too low or thrown behind by Hill who has still yet to establish himself as a consistent passer. However the passing game was virtually ineffective, for that the receivers receive a B grade. The lone bright spot was Cody Hoffman, whose 2 catches for 63 yards and mere presence seemed to help the offense out.
Vs Utah, BYU's receivers and tight ends will need to be a factor. Look for the receivers to get open on single coverage as the Ute defense brings down as many guys as they can to stuff the run. If Hill can connect with his receivers, it's gonna be a great day.
Offensive Line A+
The offensive line's turnaround from week 1 to week 2 was spectacular. This was something sorely missed from the Virginia game. They were positively nasty. They seemed to play with a chip on it's shoulder and ran the Texas defensive line and linebackers into the ground. The adjustments made to the line did wonders for the running game as holes opened up all night and numerous times Hill and BYU's running backs were able to get to the outside. One play in particular that sticks out was when a Texas DB ran late into a pile and De'Ondre Wesley set him sprawling backwards. The message was sent, BYU's line has got some nasty to em'
Vs Utah, if the O-Line continues to play with the same edge they did vs Texas look for BYU to wear Utah's defense down. "Go fast, Go hard" and the O-Line will have success.
Bend but don't break attitude. Continually applied pressure to Texas QB David Ash.
However next week vs Utah the defense will need to create turnovers. As BYU knows all too well from last year and 2011, turnovers can really change the momentum of the game.
Defensive Line A-
The D-line got after David Ash early and often. The combination of Manumaleuna at NT and Remington Peck and Kafusi at end proved to be dominating. This unit held their own in the running game and continually applied pressure when Ash dropped back to pass with a 3 man rush. However Texas did have a 90 yd effort by RB Johnathan Gray.
Vs Utah, if the D-line can put pressure on Travis Wilson like they did David Ash, look for the D-line to have another big game.
Bronco Mendenhall has proved to have one of the most underrated linebacking corps in the country and this year is no different. KVN played a stellar game in which his mere presence seemed to make tackles. The real break out moment of the game was the play of Alani Fua who emerged to make 2 sacks and proved to be KVN-heir apparent at outside linebacker. When Linebackers blitz you can feel pretty confident that the pass rush will either force an incomplete pass or lead to a tackle for loss or sack. The linebackers are the heart of this defense.
Vs Utah, unleash the linebackers and let them wreak havoc in the Ute backfield. BYU has seemed to come out flat the last several years versus Utah. If the Cougar linebackers can get in the Ute backfield early and often the BYU defense will have a great chance at getting into Wilson's head and forcing the Utes to their ground game.
For the most part the secondary performed fairly decent. There was a bit of worry when Dallin Leavitt came out of the game after a special teams play with what appeared to be an injury and did not return. Cornerback Skye PoVey simply just got beat by Mike Davis on a 57 yd touchdown catch and Rob Daniel was also scored on as well. Daniel Sorensen also missed a couple of tackles while coming up on the run game. However this unit for the most part continues to surprise BYU fans everywhere. They still have a lot to prove but have shown that they have a lot of ability as well. Limiting Ash to 251 yds after he passed for over 300 yds the week before.
Vs Utah, another opportunity to prove their worth. The DB's will be tested early and often. Wilson is a much better passer than last year. Ute receivers are athletic and quick, the secondary will need to bring its best effort in this contest.
Special Teams A-
The special teams played stellar. Sorensen has proven to be a reliable kicker and all Cougar fans are happy to see him playing healthy. Sorensen made all PAT's as well as 4/4 FG's. Sorensen and the kick-off team also continually pinned Texas deep in their own territory. Adam Hine had a nice return that was brought back because of an unneccessary block in the back, which is why this unit receives an A-.
Vs Utah, Sorensen will have an impact in this game. If recent meetings of the Holy War mean anything, everybody knows the kicker will play a vital role. It would not be a surprise if the game came down to a field goal to win it or tie it and send it to OT (like last year).