Against a team that is really, really bad, the BYU Cougars simply took care of business.
BYU’s starters jumped out early against Idaho State Saturday afternoon against Idaho State and did what was expected to eventually prevail, 56-3.
Here’s how BYU graded:
OFFENSE: QB Riley Nelson threw a 15-yard TD pass to Ross Apo on BYU’s first play from scrimmage, RB Michael Alisa scooted 42 yards into the endzone for a TD run shortly into BYU’s second offensive possession, and the Cougars never looked back. Nelson finished 11-of-17 for 215 yards and three TDs through the air and rushed the ball seven times for 62 yards and a TD in just over two quarters of work. BYU had very good balance up until Nelson and his fellow starters made way for the back-ups midway through the third quarter. GRADE: A-
DEFENSE: BYU’s defense did give up a long 19-play drive that yielded an Idaho State field goal on the second possession of the game, but otherwise, the Cougars’ first-unit 'D' was really good against a decent passing attack. Superstar Kyle Van Noy was everywhere, as usual, and fellow outside linebacker Jordan Pendleton played menacing. Also, sophomore safety Daniel Sorensen returned an INT for a TD in the third quarter before the starters started making way for the back-ups. GRADE: A-
SPECIAL TEAMS: It was an OK outing for this unit. Van Noy added to his highlight reel by blocking an Idaho State punt that led to a BYU touchdown less than two minutes into the game. Backup kickoff returner, Jordan Johnson, however, fumbled a kickoff to start the second half, and in general, the Cougars continued to be OK, but not good or great at special teams. GRADE: B
COACHING: BYU’s offense continues to look more and more dynamic under the guidance of offensive coordinator Brandon Doman, and head coach Bronco Mendenhall managed the game well on Saturday, getting starters out early enough and giving chances for lots of back-ups to see some action. However, Mendenhall failed in his decision to not bench Van Noy after an egregiously late hit on Idaho State punter Dustin Harrington in the first quarter. Possibly Mendenhall didn’t know how bad the hit was. There is no doubt that Van Noy is a good guy and an amazing football talent, but he should’ve been punished by BYU’s coach for one really poor decision to drill a defenseless punter way after the whistle had blown. (To Van Noy’s huge credit, he went and apologized to Idaho State head coach Mike Cramer afterward.) GRADE: B
OVERALL: Idaho State is really bad, but the Cougars got the job done easily and continued to build momentum ahead of their huge showdown with TCU next Friday at Cowboys Stadium. GRADE: A-