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Courtesy BYU Photo
BYU players high-five fans following the Cougars' 30-20 win against Hawaii at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu on Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017.

BYU closed out the 2017 season with a 30-20 win over Hawaii to finish 4-9 on the season.

It's been a miserable year for the Cougars, but it was good to see them band together and get one last win for the seniors. The offense and defense did their part, but the special teams had a rough go in the last game of the season.

Here's BYU's grades in its win over Hawaii.


Joe Critchlow had a much better game than last week as he threw for 166 yards and a touchdown. That touchdown went to Neil Pau'u, the young receiver who made BYU's first touchdown of the season. But it wasn't a flawless day in the passing game as Critchlow fumbled a ball that Hawaii returned for a touchdown, and there were several drops scattered across the game.

Squally Canada had a fantastic first half with 118 yards and two touchdowns before the injury bug bit BYU's cursed backfield yet again. Canada left the field before halftime and would not return. However, Austin Kafentzis was able to step in for 98 yards, and Riley Burt added 75 yards and a touchdown to help seal the deal.

Certainly not the worst day BYU's had this season.

Grade: B


The defense was dominant in this one as it held Diochomy St. Juste to just 39 yards rushing. He was averaging 133.7 yards per game coming into this game.

Dru Brown had 258 yards and two touchdowns for the Rainbow Warriors, although a lot of those yards came on a touchdown drive after the Cougars had pulled many of their starters. Corbin Kaufusi and Sione Takitaki both picked up sacks, and Kaufusi's sack led to a fumble recovered by Merril Taliauli. Overall a solid night for the defense.

Grade: B+

Special teams

It was not a good day for special teams.

Rhett Almond's struggles returned in spades as he missed a field goal and an extra point. That caused special teams coach Ed Lamb to grab the hook and put in Andrew Mikkelsen instead. The switch was rewarded with a 35-yard field goal and two successful PATs.

Worse, Michael Shelton fumbled a punt return that Hawaii would turn into a touchdown after getting the ball at the BYU 19. However, BYU did block the subsequent PAT. All told, special teams missed on four points in the kicking game and gave up six points on a turnover.

Well, at least Jonny Linehan had a good game with two punts, including a 50-yarder.

Grade: D+


BYU's game plan worked on both offense and defense. The offense was able to ride a successful rushing game, and the defense was able to stuff Hawaii's potent rushing attack. There weren't any major head-scratching decisions in this one from the coaching staff in this game, and this year that's saying something.

Grade: B+


Those saying BYU had nothing to play for apparently didn't tell the Cougars as they fought hard and got the win. Yes, it was over a three-win Hawaii team. However, the Cougars were able to close out a wretched 2017 campaign with a W and send out the seniors on a winning note. Now, BYU will begin evaluating and making the necessary changes so that a four-win season doesn't happen again in Provo.

Grade: B

Lafe Peavler is a sports strategist for the Deseret News and KSL.com. Follow him on Twitter @LafePeavler.