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Game day grades: BYU at Oregon State

Game day grades: BYU at Oregon State


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CORVALLIS, Ore. -- The BYU Cougars performed well on both sides of the ball in their 38-28 victory over Oregon State in Corvallis.

Here is a look at how they Cougars performed position by position:

Quarterback: B+

Riley Nelson led the team well. He had his best game yet. The interception for the score brings his grade down as it was a bad decision that led to six points. His legs kept the other team honest and gave the Cougars some big first down conversions, but he also threw for three touchdowns. His best performance yet.

Running backs/Fullbacks: A-

The minus comes from the fumble, but 282 yards on the ground is a performance that you aim for every week and was dominant. The run game set up the passes just like it should, it chewed up the clock like you hope for and it was another nice mix up of a lot of guys getting the ball. JJ Di Luigi's breakout 41-yarder to set up one of the final scores was nice and Michael Alisa's power running showed that last week wasn't a fluke. He might be more consistent than any back than the Cougars have seen in a while.

Wide receivers/Tight ends: B+

Cody Hoffman's performance was an 'A' and was really a breakout receiving day for one guy. Nelson admitted that Hoffman bailed him out a few times and made him look even better. JD Falslev and Kaneakua Friel with the first scores of their careers were clutch as well.

Offensive line: A-

The unheralded big guys were the ones giving Nelson time and throwing lanes and the running backs the running lanes to rack up the 499 yards of total offense on the day. The most yards and most points for the offense for the second week in a row and aside from the holding penalty to bring back a Michael Alisa touchdown, you didn't hear anything about the O-line, which means they did their job well.

Overall Offense: B+

The two turnovers still made for sloppy play including the pick-6 for the score and there were moments of futility between the middle of the second and third quarters but overall it's their best day yet. When they put together a clean, no turnover game I'll break out the 'A' grade one of these days.

Defensive line: B+

An argument could be made that the defensive line and linebackers did not generate enough pressure on Sean Mannion. It was adequate, however. The defensive line did a good job stifling a Beavers ground game that had not been good in recent weeks, but benefited from a major addition in the form of Malcolm Agnew. The freshman had not played since the opening loss against Sacramento State. He rushed for 223 yards in that game. Against BYU, he had 10 carries for 49 yards and was essentially held in check. This was a hard game on BYU's depth. Hebron Fangupo was injured and did not return. An x-ray came up negative. Romney Fuga was also injured.

Linebackers: B+

Kyle Van Noy continues to show why he will be a future All-American at BYU. He had another interception in the first half as Oregon State was driving inside the BYU 20. It was Van Noy's third interception of the year. The linebackers did a good job in run and pass coverage. This was another unit impacted by injury. Uona Kaveinga and Jordan Pendleton were both knocked out of the game.

Secondary: B-

These were good Pac-12 receivers BYU was facing, and it showed. Markus Wheaton and James Rodgers frequently got the better of BYU defenders. Brandin Cooks beat the BYU defense for a 59-yard touchdown in the third quarter. Most of Oregon State's critical down conversions came via the pass. The Beavers were 5 of 12 on third down and 2 of 2 on fourth down.

Overall defense: B

BYU gave up 365 yards, including 306 yards passing. Oregon State brought in a productive pass attack, and the Beavers' numbers are in line with what they had achieved in recent weeks. BYU picked off Sean Mannion twice and allowed just one touchdown pass. BYU held Oregon State to 59 yards on 23 carries, or just 2.6 yards per rush. The main criticism in this game comes from BYU giving up too many conversions on key downs. Oregon State was 5 of 12 on third downs and 2 of 2 on fourth downs.

Special Teams: C

Kick return coverages were adequate. Punts were acceptable. Field goals were an adventure. Justin Sorensen had a 50-yard field goal blocked and a 53-yard field goal attempt was short and wide. As it is, those are low-percentage kicks - though Sorensen does have the leg to connect. Sorensen did nail a 33-yard field goal. And Riley Stephenson only punted once for 36 yards.

Email: aadams@ksl.com and akirry@ksl.com

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Andrew Adams and Alex Kirry

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