BYU looked flat and even unprepared from the outset and didn't have enough to rebound in the end Saturday against San Jose State. Grades are in for every position group and for the team overall:
OFFENSE: The offense came out strong — scoring on its first possession — but finished out the first half with a whimper. The second half led to much better yardage, but time and again the offense stalled just short of the end zone.
Riley Nelson sustained some big hits early and was wildly inaccurate on too many plays in the second half. The senior quarterback tried to gut it out, but simply could not provide the consistency necessary to cap off drives. For much of the second half he looked dazed and out of sorts and one has to wonder if he provided the best option under center late in the game.
Nelson finished with 28-51 passing for 335 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also lost two fumbles.
The offensive line did not provide an ample push up front, leading to a largely ineffective rushing attack. As a result the offense became one-dimensional with Nelson attempting way too many passes and, in turn, providing the Spartans with ample opportunities for takeaways.
The offense also made several critical mental errors in the late stages that contributed heavily to the failed comeback bid. In particular, two mental errors leading to false starts late cost the team dearly. GRADE: D.
DEFENSE: The defense looked surprisingly unprepared for the Spartan offensive throughout the entire first half. The secondary was beat deep, short and intermediate with no pass rush contributing heavily to the Spartan onslaught.
Coaches made great adjustments at the half, but it proved to be too little, too late to atone for the woes of a hapless and inconsistent offense. GRADE: C.
SPECIAL TEAMS: Russell Tialavea provided the special teams highlight with his blocked extra point after San Jose State's first touchdown. The special teams did not play a huge role in the game for the most part. GRADE: B.
OVERALL: After a bye week and, well, another bye week last week against Idaho, BYU should have been more prepared from the outset against San Jose State. There was a lot of build up leading into this one, but the Cougars failed to match the Spartan intensity and execution and didn't have enough in the end to provide a win.
The team receives credit for waking up late to make a game of it, but it was completely surprising that it needed a wake-up call considering all factors. GRADE: D+.