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Making the Grade: Cougars Air Out the Aggies

Taysom Hill's career night sparks life into the Cougar passing attack as BYU cruises to a 31-14 win.

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Let me first speak for Cougar fans everywhere when I say that we wish Chuckie Keeton a speedy recovery as football in the state of Utah is much better with him on the field.  He is a thrilling quarterback to watch, hope he comes back stronger.  Best of luck Chuckie, get well soon!

Offense B+

The offense was much improved this week as it rolled to 438 total yard and 18 first downs.  Hill and Mathews each had career nights as the passing attack was unleashed at the Aggie secondary.  However BYU has much to improve upon in their third down efficiency (5-18, 28 %) as they turn towards a tough remaining schedule.  Look for this offense to continue to work the kinks out and continue to steadily progress.  Overall the progress they have shown should leave Cougar fans everywhere feeling optimistic. 

Quarterback A-

Taysom Hill looked like the commanding presence that everyone has hoped he would be.  With so many doubters this season, Friday night Hill silenced his critics.  Hill passed for 278 yards and 3 touchdowns with 1 interception.  Hill was much more efficient tonight as he completed 17/31 of his passes (55%).  Although the Aggie defense stifled Hill’s ability to run (9 carries for 14 yards) he did what Cougar fans had hoped.  He was a difference maker through the air.

For the Cougars to have success against Georgia Tech at home Hill will need to have a repeat performance of what he did against a solid Aggie defense.  If hill can be just as efficient or even improve upon Friday night’s performance look for the offense to have a solid night.

Running Backs B-

As a team BYU ran for 160 yards Friday night.  Williams was the leading rusher, carrying the ball 14 times for 79 yards including a 44 yard burst to gash that solid Aggie run defense.  Algie Brown added some tough running with 45 yards on 16 carries.  Lasike carried the ball 8 times for 27 yards and Hill added 14 yards on 9 carries.  Hill however was sacked 3 times and also fumbled early in the 1st quarter, a fumble that set up the first Aggies touchdown.

The running backs were not much of a factor this week as the Aggie defense was solid against the run.  Williams was still able to run for nearly 80 yards and while the run game was not the “X-factor” it did relieve pressure off the passing game and allowed Hill to open up the passing game a bit.

Receivers B+

Mitch Mathews was the man!  What more can be said as had 5 receptions for 112 yards and 3 touchdowns for the sophomore wide receiver.  Mathews gives Hill another go to target on the offense.  Hoffman had 3 receptions for 41 yards, Ridley 4 for 38, Williams 2 for 14, Thompson, Falslev and Kurt Henderson each added a reception.  Henderson’s reception was a 60 yard bomb from Hill.  The receivers were simply more consistent Friday night.  Although there were still catchable balls that could’ve led to some big plays, Cougar fans everywhere should be encouraged by Friday night’s performance.

Just like Hill in the passing game look for this receiving corps to continue progressing from this game for this offense to have success this season.  They have proven to be a talented bunch; if consistent they will put up big numbers against Georgia Tech’s defense this coming week.

Offensive Line B

The O-Line had some inconsistent play Friday night.  Let me explain.  The Running game never really took off as the O-Line was not able to get a consistent push against the Aggie front seven which includes solid linebackers Kyler Fackrell and Jake Doughty.  Also Taysom Hill was sacked 3 times.  Sacks simply have to be minimized.  However, even though Hill was under pressure several times he had all day to sit back and scan the field.  If you look at the touchdowns to Mathews specifically you have to give the O-Line credit as they allowed Hill to drop back and set up.

This O-Line continues to improve, although it may not be at the rate Cougar fans everywhere want it to be this unit shows its potential and flashes of great ability.  Look for this unit to continue to improve especially when Wesley is back from his concussion.  This team’s offensive success is as good as the O-Line plays.

Defense B+

Although the game would have been different had Chuckie Keeton not gotten injured at the end of the 1st quarter the outcome would have been different.  However even before Keeton left the game with a knee injury the Cougar defense had stifled the Aggie passing game.  The defense played solid, sound football against an explosive Aggie offense.  As talented as Keeton is the Aggies still are loaded with talent in their whole offense.  Give credit where credit is due, this Cougar defense outplayed the Aggie offense.  Also I have been hard on this defense for not creating turnovers, how about a Van Noy pick 6?  And Uani Unga’s strip that he took from Aggie quarterback Harrison?  Turnovers are huge, especially in rivalry games.

Once again the Cougars will have to play a solid game against Georgia Tech.  A team that they routed last year in Atlanta.  This year’s Yellow Jackets look to be improved and will be looking for revenge against the Cougars.  Just like Friday night proved, it is the Cougar defense that sets the tone.  Georgia Tech is a big game as BYU is looking for another big home win.

Defensive Line B

The D-Line did not make much noise Friday night.  That is to say that they didn’t light up the stat sheet.  However their main responsibility is to eat up blocks so that BYU’s linebackers can make plays.  The Aggies were able to rush for 186 yards on 35 carries.  Kafusi had a nice pass batted down in which he got turned around and stuck his arm up and a pass hit the back of his hand.

Although the D-Lines main objective is to eat up blocks if the D-Line can push back line man and get into the backfield that’s when this unit really does a great job.

Linebackers A-

Because of Van Noy’s first play of the game interception return for a touchdown this unit gets an A-.  That play alone set the tone for the game and took the air right out of that stadium; the HURD (Utah State student section) was not much of a factor after this play.  Van Noy repeatedly made plays behind the line of scrimmage.  Fua and Jorgensen turned in good performances and Uani Unga was solid as he led the defense with 16 tackles and stripped the ball right out of Craig Harrison’s hands.  However as mentioned before the Aggies were able to rush for 186 yards, a stat that reflects heavily on the play of the front 7 for the cougars.

Next week BYU will face a good running attack against Georgia Tech.  Letting up 5.3 yards a carry like they did against USU will need to be improved upon.  Also look for the linebackers to get to the quarterback more in the passing game.

Secondary B+

This unit turned in a solid performance.  Although they did let up 211 yards and 2 touchdowns the Aggies passing game never really took off.  You could say that it’s because Chuckie got hurt near the end of the 1st quarter.  And while this is true even Chuckie Keeton struggled in the passing game.  This unit held him to 4/10 passing for 26 yards and a touchdown.  They kept solid receivers like Travis Reynolds and Travis Van Leeuwen in check.  Rob Daniel added a nice night as he made several open field tackles and meeting running backs at the line.

The secondary has done a really nice job this season and should look to continue to improve upon their performance this week.  When the secondary is able to lock down the opposing teams passing attack like they did USU’s, the defense is truly at its best.

Special Teams B+

The special team’s player of the week has got to be Daniel Sorensen.  Sorensen blocked a 47 yard field goal attempt by Nick Diaz in the second quarter.  Also Sorensen made a couple of spectacular open field tackles on the shifty Bruce “JoJo” Natson for the punt team.  JD Falslev wasn’t able to take one to the house this week on PR’s but he did not have any turnovers.  However there were a few punts that Falslev maybe could’ve made an attempt at fair catching that ended up pinning the Cougars deep in their own territory.  But once again there were no turnovers in the return game so hats off to Falslev for polishing that up this week.

This special teams unit has continued to improve and prove each week that it is a factor (whether good or bad) for the outcome of the game.