What's this? You were hoping to see a POWER RANKINGS article dedicated to the performance against Wagner?
I'm sorry but trying to conjure serious football takes from a game such as that is not possible. That would be like college coaches trying to scout players on a high school team that accidentally scheduled a scrimmage with a middle school squad. It's just not reasonable.
At any rate, the POWER RANKINGS needed to live on so here they are in mid-season form. What you will find below might surprise you but these ten players / coaches have made a significant impact on the season thus far.
MID-SEASON POWER RANKINGS
10) Trevor Samson
Trevor's special teams counterpart Jonny Linehan gets a lot of attention because of his unique story and fantastic social media presence but the it's the placekicker that has been particularly impressive in the first half of the season. Bronco Mendenhall has done a really good job of putting Samson in a position to succeed (very seldom will he attempt 50+ yard FG's) but when give the opportunity he has been nails. Through eight games he is 10-12 on his field goal attempts and a perfect 34-34 on his extra points. Generally people don't recognize the placekicker until they miss a game winning field goal but we should appreciate the performance of Trevor considering how close some of the game have been this season. AND LEST WE FORGET, Trevor has a beard that is so illustrious that Brigham Young would approve.
9) Michael Wadsworth
Coming into the season I don't think there were many people who had Michael on their radar. The only thing that I remembered about him was that he was the player who Norm Chow didn't grant a transfer from Hawaii after returning home from his mission. Even now, people probably don't recognize him as a leader on the defense. He isn't the best pass defender and he doesn't hit the hardest but the guy just has a nose for the ball. He leads the team with 48 tackles, 33 being solo tackles which is a telling stat for a safety who is constantly making plays in the open field. There are other guys on the defense that are big time playmakers and they will get a lot of the attention but without the reliable contributions of Wadsworth, this team doesn't have six wins.
8) Brett Keisel
I think we all know why BYU beat Boise State. If you're unsure of the answer, take a look at the video below.
7) Sea Tautu
Don't get me wrong. Fred Warner has been an absolute beast and Harvey Langi has played well but in the month of October Sae has really developed into a serious play maker. Despite a relatively quite first month of the season, he is tied for the team lead in tackles for loss with 7.5. His fellow linebackers will continue to get a lot of attention but he has made the most progress out of any of the LB's on this team.
6) Bronco Mendenhall
We can officially stop it with the "Bronco doesn't make adjustments" narrative. Against Nebraska the defense stopped the Cornhuskers dead in their tracks in the 4th quarter, giving the offense a chance at a hail mary, which worked to perfection. The next week against Boise State, the Broncos didn't score a point in the 4th quarter. UCLA and Michigan were tough weeks but even then Josh Rosen (who has been lighting the Pac-12 on fire as of late) barely passed for 100+ yards and Michigan didn't score in the final two periods after dominating in the first half. The most impressive performance came against Cincinnati where the Bearcats looked like they were going to put up 100 points after their first few drives. They looks absolutely unstoppable until Bronco made some adjustments, put his players and right position and changed the game. In the second half the Bearcats had one scoring drive but besides that they were dormant. Of course there is always room to improve but there is no denying Bronco's defensive prowess.
5) Mitch Matthews
For all the grief I give Mitch on a weekly basis, he has made some key contributions to this football team. Specifically, he made one SIGNIFICANT contribution towards the beginning of the season. Do the words "hail" and "mary" ring a bell? Well it should because Mitch is going to be a part of BYU folklore for decades to come thanks to that single catch. Let's watch it again one more time just for kicks and giggles. Maybe it will help us forget all of the passes that Mitch has dropped this season.
4) Kai Nacua
There is a famous saying that goes "You don't know the worth of water until the well is dry and you don't know the value of Kai Nacua until he isn't playing safety." OK that might not be the exact quote but you have to admit that Kai has been absolutely vital to the performance of the defense. In the first game of the season (which Kai had to sit out due to a small scuffle) Nebraska was able to move the ball with relative ease thought the air. He came back and had a career game against Boise State, show us just how important it was to have him around. We saw just how important he was again against ECU when Kai was moved over to cornerback due to injuries and suspension. In the second half ECU torched the the Cougar defense through the air when Kai was out of his natural position. When he was able to go back to safety against Cincinnati, the defense gave up very little by was of the pass after the first few drives. Oh, and did I mention that he knocked a player back to 1994? Because he did. Poor Max Morrison.
3) Algie Brown / Adam Hine
I'm going to combine the efforts of our two running backs because it seems as if neither of them have been healthy at the same time. Algie has been a touchdown machine and Adam Hine can fly because he believes in himself.
2) Bronson Kaufusi
Did you watch the Cincinnati game? Yes? Then I don't need to explain why Bronson is rated number two on this list. He is a beast and all the post players in the WCC are glad he chose to focus on football.
In all seriousness, Bronson has been the anchor on a defense that hasn't seen much consistency in performance largely due to injury and suspensions. Every week we know that we are going to get a solid performance from Bronson with his ability to put pressure on the quarterback and stuff the run. It was mentioned on a broadcast that as dominant as he has been, Bronson is playing out of position. In Bronco's 3-4 scheme Bronson is occupying the tackle position that is usually reserved for wider run-stuffers like Travis Tuiloma. A best case scenario would see Bronson at the defensive end position in a 4-3 defense, which would allow him to set the pass rush edge and show off more of his athletic ability. Either way, BYU is lucky to have Bronson leading the way on defense.
1) Tanner Mangum
We all knew at some point that Taysom Hill was going to pass the torch to Tanner but none of us suspected that 1) it would happen so soon and 2) the transition would be so fluid. Usually when you go from a Heisman level quarterback to the backup, there is a significant drop in talent. While the experience wasn't quite there for Tanner, we didn't see or experience the talent drop off. Tanner came in guns blazing, ready to throw the deep ball on just about every down. We've chronicled his progress here in the weekly power rankings and expect to see his continued growth throughout the season. Fan and radio personalities alike have been quick to speculate if he will break every passing record in school history. The time might come when that should be a legitimate discussion but for now we should enjoy the fact that we have a dang good quarterback.