Every time this season you think that BYU can't possibly sink any lower, the Cougars find a way, as shown in an embarrassing 33-17 loss at East Carolina on Saturday night.
BYU played a team that gave up an average of 50.0 points per game coming into this game and only managed 17. Scoring only 17 points on a Power 5 team or even a good Group of 5 team is one thing. Doing so against the worst defense in the FBS is simply unforgivable.
Here's BYU's grades in its loss to ECU:
East Carolina gave up 327.9 yards per game through the air coming into this game, which was second-worst in the FBS. It was also dead last in scoring defense as the Pirates gave up 50.0 points per game. It seemed like BYU would finally be able to move the ball against a horrible defense.
The Cougars managed only 17 points against a team that's given up no less than 34 points in 2017, and that includes James Madison of the FCS. Struggling against the likes of LSU, Wisconsin and Utah is one thing. Struggling against a bad defense like the Pirates is inexcusable.
If you look at just the yards, it would seem that BYU did OK. Tanner Mangum had 319 yards passing and two touchdowns, but most of those yards were simply too little too late. Aleva Hifo showed that he can be a big playmaker in this otherwise horrid offense with 148 yards on nine receptions.
But then, it all comes back to the scoreboard. BYU scoring only 17 points on a team that gives up an average of 50 is worthy only of failure. And if there was a lower grade than failure, they'd deserve that instead.
The defense has steadily regressed as the season has gone on. The defense got burned time and time again on third down and just couldn't get off the field so many times in this game. It's also not getting any pressure on the quarterback as the Cougars went another game without a sack.
The ECU offense pushed the defense around as if it were Wisconsin or Mississippi State. While the Pirates' offense isn't quite as bad as their defense, giving up 33 points to East Carolina makes it feel like the defense is giving up. Even backup quarterback Gardner Minshew had no trouble moving the ball as he scored two passing touchdowns.
The defense isn't quite as bad as the offense, but that's like saying a student who scored 55 percent on a test isn't as bad as a student who scored only 25 percent. In the end, both earn a failing grade.
If anybody had a good game, it was punter Jonny Linehan. He had a beautiful 59-yard punt that was downed at the ECU 1-yard line.
But the rest of the special teams was uninspiring at best. Rhett Almond missed a 41-yard attempt, and ECU promptly marched down the field and turned that into points of its own. BYU's kickoff return game averaged under 25 yards per return yet again, which makes fans wonder why anyone bothers to take the ball out of the end zone instead of simply taking the touchback. At least BYU's special team defense didn't give up any big plays.
Losing big to Power 5 opponents is one thing. Losing big to the worst defense in the FBS is quite another. What else is there to be said?
This season has had plenty of low points, but this team has managed to find even lower ones. The Cougars will not go to a bowl game. They might not even win another game in 2017, and that's even though they play a horrid San Jose State team next week.
If that's not failure, what is?
Lafe Peavler is a sports strategist for the Deseret News and KSL.com. Follow him on Twitter @LafePeavler.