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BYU football report card: Cougars do enough to win comfortably against San Jose State

Published: Friday, Sept. 4 2015 2:37 a.m. MDT

Brigham Young Cougars running back Michael Alisa (42) runs with the ball during the first quarter of a football game against San Jose State at the Lavell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) Brigham Young Cougars running back Michael Alisa (42) runs with the ball during the first quarter of a football game against San Jose State at the Lavell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

PROVO — The BYU Cougars definitely weren’t perfect — far from it — but they did enough to earn their first comfortable victory of the season.

Looking good at times and looking bad at others, BYU did enough to dispatch San Jose State, 29-16, on Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Here’s how BYU graded:

OFFENSE: With junior QB Riley Nelson at the controls, BYU’s offense looked like BYU’s offense in the first half. Nelson tossed three TD passes to help the Cougars race to a 23-3 lead midway through the second quarter and looked brilliant doing so. After that, he cooled off, throwing a pick near the end of the first half and another early in the second half. All told, he finished 14 of 24 for 219 yards and three TDs and two INTs. He also rushed the ball nine times for 65 yards and a fumble. When BYU needed to in the second half, the Cougars were able to usually the ball with several running backs behind their O-line. All in all, it definitely wasn’t great, but it was better. GRADE: B

DEFENSE: BYU’s defense did allow some long drives, but aside from a San Jose State TD scamper from 1 yard in the third quarter, the Cougars kept the Spartans out of the endzone. Kyle Van Noy continues to star, and several other guys made plays for BYU Saturday, including linebackers Jordan Pendleton and Uona Kaveinga. GRADE: B+

SPECIAL TEAMS: BYU’s special teams were solid and steady. They didn’t allow any huge returns, didn’t turn the ball over on kickoff returns or punt returns and got a pair of field goals from sophomore Justin Sorensen. GRADE: A-

COACHING: Offensive coordinator Brandon Doman continued to look more and more comfortable in his new role — it certainly helped this week that the level of competition went down considerably — and head coach Bronco Mendenhall continues to look great coordinating BYU’s defense. The big complaint about Saturday’s win as it relates to coaching? BYU continues to look really bad coming out of the gates in the third quarter. BYU has struggled over and over again coming out of the halftime locker room this season, and those struggles continued against San Jose State. Coaches need to find a way to change that. GRADE: B

OVERALL: After having close game after close game this fall, the Cougars have to be happy to finally win one easily. There are lots of things to improve on, no doubt, but the Cougars will be glad to record to a comfortable victory. GRADE: B+

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