It's been 15+hours now since BYU walked off the field victorious, and I'm still tingling. The more I think about last night the more I realize just what a phenomenal team performance the Cougars turned in. It was truly magical...
Here are my grades for the team...
Max Hall: A-... This was going to be a B- until the last scoring drive for the Cougars when he caught fire. I was concerned that Max was reverting back to his 2008 ways with the two INTs at inopportune times, but he proved he's grown from those experiences and is better for it. He turned a very average game into a stellar game against what was supposed to be the nation's best defense. 26-38 for 329 yards, 2 Tds and 2 INTs, and an ESPN helmet sticker.
O-Line: A... Without question by biggest surprise. Going up against an NFL-type front seven the BYU line outperformed the OU blue chippers--and more importantly, gave Hall the time he needed when he needed it. Awesome game. The official stats list four sacks, but at least two of those came when an untouched Hall fell behind the line.
RB: B+ (running and catching)... Kariya was excellent in the first half and really gave BYU confidence. Tonga excelled in protecting Hall and opening up holes for Kariya early on, while DiLuigi was unmemorable. It was a tough night running as the group totaled 24 carries for a measly 49 yards, but they came through with 8 catches for 96 yards.
TE: A+...Simply sensational. Pitta and George combined for 10 catches, 116 yards and one touchdown. Pitta's 4th-down snag and rumble with six minutes left in the game kept BYU's chances alive. Not to mention, his magnetism allowed Jacobson to roam wild in the end zone for the go-ahead score.
WR: B... Could have been better, could have been much worse--8 catches 117 yards and a TD. I thought the fumble at the 1-yard line by Chambers would prove to be BYU's demise--I'm glad I was wrong. Jacobson's grab at the back of the end zone will live forever as one of BYU's greatest moments.
Defense: A+...A truly unbelievable and incredible performance. Was it just me or was the defense flying around and drilling OU players? If this is the type of recruiting BYU can do over a winter, look out in the coming years. I couldn't believe the athleticism and fierceness of the BYU secondary (DBs and safeties), especially Brandon Bradley (who led the team in tackles with 7) and Andrew Rich, who's big hit early on led to a fumble recovery.
Though they tired a little bit in the 3rd quarter, the front seven were terrific. The series of the year just may be the goal line stand late in the 4th quarter...oh, and Colby Clawson, well, you know...WHAT A HIT!!!
Special Teams: D...There are two reasons why this is not an "F"--a)BYU didn't lose, and b) Riley Stephenson. From a missed FG to a kickoff that soared out of bounds on the game's final possession and a fumbled punt, BYU was pathetic on special teams. However, one really bright spot, but not a surprise given his play all throughout camp, was freshman punter Riley Stephenson. This kid is GOOD.
Overall: A-... If the Cougar defense continues to improve on what they did against OU they could be very, very scary. I expect the offense to gel and put some major points on the board this season, beginning next week at Tulane. If BYU focuses on their next opponent every week they will be headed to their first BCS bowl.