Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Offense: The BYU offense came in shaky, to put it mildly, starting with a bad snap that should have gone for a safety on the very first play from scrimmage. Nothing much went right for the offense for the duration of the first quarter defined by uncertainty and clumsy execution.
The Cougar offense settled down in the second quarter and provided a touchdown pass from Riley Nelson to Cody Hoffman from 10 yards out. The running game never found its groove and accounted for just 45 net yards at the half.
The offense started off the second half well before committing an enormous mental error that put Utah up by two scores and completely changed the course of the game. With the Cougars threatening to score midway through the third, center Blair Tushaus snapped the ball early, leading to a 47-yard fumble recovery for a touchdown by Mo Lee.
Despite the hole it dug for itself, the offense came back to make a game of it and found itself with an opportunity to put the game into overtime or win it late. It was far too little too late, however.
The offense finished with 303 yards overall, but the numerous mental errors and inability to run against and protect against Utah’s interior line ultimately did it in. Grade: C-
Defense: The Cougar defense provided some dominating play in the first half after giving up an early touchdown. The Cougars were aggressive and consistently put the BYU offense in good field position throughout the second quarter. Overall it allowed just 142 yards of total offense and 30 yards rushing in the first half.
The defense continued its brilliant play in the second half and did everything possible to secure the win. A long pass yielded for a touchdown was largely the only mark against it. Overall it gave up 247 yards of total offense and 49 yards rushing. Grade: B+
Special Teams: After allowing a big punt return for Utah the Cougar special teams had a stellar first half outing. JD Falslev gave the team a big boost with a 34 yard punt return that changed the momentum of the game to BYU’s direction. Riley Stephenson had a picture perfect punt -- pinning the Utes on their own 1 yard line.
The special teams stepped up big in the second half -- providing the offense with the ball deep in Utah’s territory after forcing Utah’s punter to scramble with its rush up the middle. The tables were turned on the final field goal attempt as Utah was able to bust through the line to block it, but a rushing the field penalty after the block gave BYU another chance. Riley Stephenson's attempt glanced off the right upright, however, giving the Utes the win. Grade: B+
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