Game Day Grades: BYU vs. Hawaii

Game Day Grades: BYU vs. Hawaii

Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

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It's hard to knock a performance where the offense scores 47 points and the defense holds an opponent to 0. The Cougars actually defeated Hawaii by wider margins than USC (39 points) and Nevada (45 points). The Wolfpack laid a 69-24 whipping on the Warriors last week. BYU, coming off dismal offensive showings against Utah and Boise State, ran all over Hawaii. Freshmen Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams both had outstanding performances replacing injured starters.


BYU racked up 540 total yards, including 396 yards rushing (7.3 ypc). The Cougars rolled up 30 first downs and were 7 of 14 on 3rd Down. The "Y" still only managed 6.0 yards per pass, but really didn't try to throw after the second quarter.


Taysom Hill battled admirably to pick up a win in his first career start - the first time that's happened for a BYU freshman QB since Ty Detmer (1988). Hill was 12 of 21 for 112 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. He was much more impressive running, though. He picked up 143 rushing yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. Hill could still stand to improve his passing, but it's hard to grade him lower considering BYU did not put a lot of effort into passing once it built a significant lead. James Lark was 2 of 2 for 32 yards in a backup role.


The bad news is Mike Alisa went down to injury - two broken bones in his right forearm. He's expected to be out a while. The good news is, Jamaal Williams looked like a star in his absence. He reminded of Ronney Jenkins, ripping off exhilarating runs. He finished the night with 155 yards and 2 touchdowns on 15 carries. He also had 2 receptions for 30 yards. Paul Lasike with his first meaningful reps of the season left a mark on several Hawaii defenders. The bruiser racked up 40 yards on 10 carries with 2 touchdowns as well as 1 catch for 25 yards. David Foote carried the ball 10 times for 39 yards.


The receivers and tight ends performed fine when they actually got the ball. Ross Apo had 3 catches for 27 yards and a score. JD Falslev continued his consistent play with 3 grabs for 25 yards. Cody Hoffman has been underutilized the last two weeks. He notched 2 catches for 16 yards. Tight end Devin Mahina hauled in his first touchdown catch of the season, a 12 yarder from Hill. He's likely to see more time with Austin Holt out the rest of the season.


Cougar coaches had made some adjustments heading into this game, switching Famika Anae to starting left guard, Braden Hansen to starting center and Solomone Kafu and Manaaki Vaitai to a rotation at right guard. Though Hawaii isn't the best team to serve as a barometer for the changes, the line certainly was able to run block well and pass block adequately. Anae in particular stood out with strong play.


The defense shut down the Hawaii offense, though Norm Chow later said his team looked sluggish and didn't play hard. The Cougars held the Warriors to only 9 first downs, 149 total yards and 41 rushing yards. Hawaii was just 1 of 12 on 3rd Down and BYU forced three turnovers.


Ezekiel Ansah continues to evolve into a pro prospect. He played extremely well replacing Eathyn Manumaleuna, and he recorded a forced fumble where he also ended up scoring a touchdown. The problem is, the guy who recovered the fumble and fumbled it back to Ansah in the endzone had a knee down at the 2.5 yard line. The play was called back to that mark, but it was still a notable play for Ansah.


Kyle Van Noy registered another sack. He continues to be an All-American - caliber force. Spencer Hadley, Uona Kaveinga and Brandon Ogletree were all solid and effective. Manoa Pikula and Uani' Unga also looked good in backup roles.


Daniel Sorensen recorded an interception. The secondary bottled up a wide receiving corp that isn't the worst the Cougars will see all year. Jordan Johnson, Preston Hadley and Joe Sampson all were excellent in coverage.


The coverage on kickoffs and punts was solid. Riley Stephenson averaged 49.3 yards on 3 punts. The kicking game continues to be a misadventure. BYU had one extra point blocked and Stephenson flat-out missed a second one.

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Andrew Adams


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