BYU defeated Oregon State, 38-28, Saturday in Corvallis, Ore. Here's how the Cougars (5-2) graded out in beating up the Beavers (1-5) for their second road win of the year:
QUARTERBACK: In the air and on the ground, Riley Nelson fueled the offense. The junior quarterback finished 17-of-27 for 217 passing yards and three touchdowns, in addition to running for 87 yards. However, Nelson also struggled to protect the ball: he threw an interception that Oregon State returned for a touchdown late in the second quarter, and in the first quarter he fumbled deep in Oregon State territory (BYU recovered). GRADE: B+
RUNNING BACKS: Michael Alisa and Josh Quezada spearheaded BYU's first drive of the game, combining for 6 carries, 48 yards and a 10-yard touchdown run by Alisa. However, Alisa coughed up a fumble in the second quarter and the duo generally failed to recapture the magic of that initial possession. JJ Di Luigi and JD Falslev each contributed a short touchdown, and Alisa still ground out enough real estate to finish the afternoon with 84 yards. GRADE: B
RECEIVERS: Cody Hoffman dominated Saturday. All told Hoffman finished with 9 catches for 162 yards, while everyone else on the BYU roster caught 8 balls for 55 yards. Among the sophomore wide receiver's myriad exploits: catching a tough slant for 6 yards on third-and-4 to set up Alisa's touchdown; dancing a pirouette on the right sideline to stay in-bounds while making a 19-yard catch on the play preceding Di Luigi's score; and adding his own 12-yard touchdown catch. GRADE: A+
DEFENSIVE LINE: Injuries to Hebron Fangupo (ankle) and Romney Fuga (knee) left the defensive line porous. GRADE: C
LINEBACKERS: Kyle Van Noy and Brandon Ogletree each netted an interception; Uona Kaveinga recovered a fumble and Ogletree forced a fumble; and Jordan Pendleton repeatedly wreaked havoc in the Oregon State backfield. GRADE: A
DEFENSIVE BACKS: The Cougars couldn't cover Oregon State wide receiver Markus Wheaton (8 receptions, 104 yards), and struggled mightily to contain the Beavers on third-and-long passing situations. Oregon State true freshman Brandin Cooks burned BYU senior cornerback Corby Eason for a 59-yard touchdown bomb late in the third quarter. Grade: F
SPECIAL TEAMS: Justin Sorensen only connected on 1-of-3 field goal attempts, and BYU's kickoff coverage team allowed a 57-yard return. Cougar fans, though, should thank their lucky stars for Matt Marshall, Sorensen's holder who likely saved a touchdown on the last play of the first half. After Oregon State blocked Sorensen's 50-yard field goal attempt, Beaver safety Anthony Watkins picked the ball up and started weaving through a field full of gassed Cougars. Marshall, however, fought threw multiple blockers and crisscrossed the width of the field twice to tackle Watkins in BYU territory. Grade: C-
OVERALL: Who cares if Oregon State is enduring a down year? The scoreboard is what matters most, and road wins over Pac-12 teams are always good news for the Cougars. Grade: A-
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