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Making the Grade: Cougars take sting out of Yellow Jackets

Line Backers lead the way as the way in BYU's victory over Georgia Tech.

Gene Sweeney Jr.

Offense B

This week BYU’s offense was able to control the ball in the first half in dominant fashion, Georgia Tech did however make good adjustments in the second half to stop Hill from breaking more personal records. While the offense played good, 433 total yards and 0 turnovers, one statistic will need to be improved upon, especially before hitting the road this week; that is 3rd down efficiency. BYU was 3-10 Saturday night against a solid defense (GA-Tech was 20th best overall defense in the country coming into Saturday's game). That will need to be improved upon, if this offense could be at least at 50% that would go a long way in keeping the Cougar offense on the field and controlling the ball game.

Quarterback B+

Taysom Hill continues to steadily improve in the passing game as he was fairly consistent again this week. This week Hill was 19/27 (70%) for 244 yards and a touchdown which was the 45 yard td pass and catch by Hoffman. Hill just looks more comfortable, he has more time and it also appears that he is hitting shorter routes that are also helping him to complete easy passes and get into a rhythm. He controlled the offense well passing and also ran the ball 15 times for 65 yards while adding a score on the ground as well. This week wasn’t perfect by any means and Hill still has a lot to improve upon but his progress is very encouraging.

Next week vs. unbeaten Houston, Hill will need to be on his A game. While Hill had a productive and efficient night most of that came in the first half. While it was enough to make the Yellow Jackets fight an uphill battle, Hill will need to have an impact all 4 quarters when the Cougars head to Reliant Stadium in Houston this weekend. BYU will face a team that is much more capable of scoring quickly and mounting a comeback, unlike Georgia Tech’s Triple Option offense.

Running Backs B

Collectively, BYU running backs ran for 117 yards on 24 carries (Hill added 65 yards and Falslev also carried once for 9 yards to bring the team total to 189). Running Backs Williams and Brown both got into the endzone Saturday night, Williams for the first time this season and Algie Brown for the first time of his career. While the running backs were able to grind out Saturday night with a solid run game, Williams was not able to reach the century mark as he only carried the ball 17 times. In short the Running Backs were good but not spectacular. BYU’s offenses are more successful when they have a Running Back that can go over 100 yards in a game.

Although not a particularly explosive night for BYU, there were 0 turnovers and Running Backs are a big part of that, they were able to contribute throughout the game and hold on to the rock to put the game away. The Running Backs will be crucial when the Cougars head to Houston to face the Cougars (University of Houston). An explosive night from Williams could go a long way to keeping pressure off of Hill in the passing game.

Receivers B+

This unit continues to impress as they are more consistent with their catches. Hoffman led all receivers with 99 yards on 5 receptions with 1 TD (45 yards) while Falslev added 6 catches on 69 yards. The receiving unit was very good in the first half but just as Hill struggled a little bit to pass in the 2nd half the receivers also weren’t as much of an offensive threat.

It was nice to see Hoffman make a jaw-dropping catch in the endzone near the beginning of the first quarter though. That touchdown catch was as good as any Cougar fans in years have seen a BYU receiver produce. Look for the receivers to have a big game vs. Houston. If they don’t you can bet that BYU will really struggle as the passing game is too important to this offense.

Offensive Line B

Not much to critique about this unit this week. The offense was rolling in the first half and a lot of that has to be credited to the offensive line, however GA Tech made adjustments and stifled the Cougar offense a bit in the second half. Hill consistently had time to throw and look comfortable in the pocket, when he’s got time he can really be efficient.

While this unit wasn’t necessarily spectacular on Saturday they did play fairly well, they will need to up their game this week as they invade Houston. Whichever side wins the trenches usually decides the outcome of the ball game and going on the road against undefeated Houston it will be this unit that will set the tone for the offense.

Defense B+

The defense didn’t destroy the Yellow Jackets in the same fashion as last year (0-10 on third down) but they did control the game from start to finish. The Yellow Jacket offense never really got any momentum (the long 55 yard run by GA-Tech’s Matt Connors came late in the fourth when the game was out of reach. The GA-Tech defense was 10-20 (50%) on third down conversions, look for the defense to tighten up on those as they face some tough road games down the second half stretch of the season.

Defensive Line B

This unit once again played a fairly good game. Much of the credit to holding the 7th ranked rushing offense in the country (300 yds per contest) to only 242 yards. Much of the responsibility in defending the run game resides with the Defensive Line and their ability to play sound football eating up blocks so the Linebackers can make plays. Saturday night saw interesting line ups with Manumaleuna, Johnson, and Merrill Taliauli all on the line at one time. How do you know when the D-Line which isn’t usually the headliners for making big plays is doing their job? Answer: When the linebackers are able to make plays in Mendenhalls defense you can usually trace that play back to something a D-Lineman did.

Linebackers A

Linebackers played awesome Saturday night! Where to begin? Van Noy made multiple plays behind the line of scrimmage coming up with several sacks and tackles for loss and is now the NCAA’s active career sack leader. Fua showed off his athleticism that coaches have been raving about for quite some time when he picked off and then out raced speedy Vad Lee 51 yards to the endzone. Tom Sellick’s mustache reinstatement (Spencer Hadley) seemed to boost the entire Cougar defense and also had a fumble recovery. And Uani Unga continues to be a tackling machine. This unit is extremely athletic. Don’t believe me? Pay attention to the linebackers next game and watch how quickly they move laterally. They play athletic and fast.

Next game vs. Houston….KEEP DOING WHAT YOU ARE DOING!

Secondary B

The secondary played alright Saturday, however Georgia Tech is not a renowned passing team. The secondary did get beat twice on long passes of 49 and 37 yards. Roberston Daniel did come up with a big play in the fourth when he caused fumble which was recovered by Spencer Hadley.

This unit will be called upon to make big plays vs. Houston’s passing attack. If the secondary can step up and create turnovers this defense will have another successful night.

Special Teams

The special teams was not spectacular Saturday night. Sorensen was 1-2 FG’s and Arellano had a hard time in the punting game as well averaging a meager 38.2 yards per punt. Hine continues to be a solid returner as he had a good night with 3 returns for 85 yards. Daniel Sorensen continues to be quite impressive with open field tackles on punts and very may well play his way into the NFL because of his special team abilities. The special teams will need to be very consistent vs. Houston if the Cougars hope to have success.