PROVO, Utah --
A win is a win, pretty or ugly. This win was on the uglier side, but both defenses had a lot to do with the lack of offensive production. Both are very good units and held the scoring down. The BYU defense was once again dominant, holding an opposing offense to under 300 total yards for the 12th-straight game. The defense has also not allowed an offensive touchdown for 3 full games, and 13 quarters overall. While the point production was not there, the BYU offense moved the ball effectively in spots.
The offense did just enough to win. The Cougars amassed 380 yards and 20 first downs and averaged 6.5 yards per pass, which is an improvement over the last several weeks and it happened against quality competition. Cody Hoffman once again showed how invaluable he is to the offense, hauling in 8 catches for 114 yards. The Cougars managed 145 yards rushing against a stout Aggie rush defense.
Taysom Hill completed 24 of 36 passes for 235 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also added 80 yards rushing on 19 carries. Hill's passer rating may not amaze anyone, but he made big throws when it counted, especially in the lone scoring drive at the end of the first half.
RUNNING BACKS: C+
Jamaal Williams finished with 71 yards on 17 carries (4.2 ypc), though his numbers were padded by carries that went for 12 and 14 yards, respectively, at the end of the game. David Foote had 4 carries for 13 yards. Paul Lasike had just 2 carries for 1 yard, but fumbled on one of those carries. Williams continues to excite, but the running backs as a group probably could have had a little more of an impact.
Cody Hoffman alone deserved a much higher grade than this, but he didn't have a lot of help. He ended the night with 114 yards on 8 catches. Kaneakua Friel posted a nice effort, registering 5 catches for 53 yards. Utah State defensive backs regularly jammed up Cougar receivers and impaired their ability to get open.
OFFENSIVE LINE: C-
After what seemed like a step forward against Hawaii, the Cougar offensive line may have taken a step back against Utah State. That's considering the Aggies have a good defense. USU defenders had much too easy and quick access to Taysom Hill. It's fortunate Hill and Williams are talented runners, or the toll the Aggie defense took could have been much worse.
It's hard to knock a unit that has held opponents to under 300 yards of total offense for the equivalent of an entire college football season. After the game, USU coach Gary Andersen noted the rarity of a defense holding teams without an offensive touchdown for 13-straight quarters. The Cougars held an Aggie offense that had been averaging 452 yards of total offense and 191 yards of rushing offense to 246 yards and 40 yards, respectively.
DEFENSIVE LINE: A
Ezekiel Ansah continues to improve his NFL stock weekly. He registered 2 sacks and made some vicious tackles. He has gone from somebody who had never played football to somebody who was an occasional contributor to now being a standout on the defensive line. The entire line was effective against the Aggie offense.
Uani' Unga had one of the most critical plays in the game, a sack on Chuckie Keeton in the 4th Quarter. Kyle Van Noy was a presence once again. The linebackers put heat on the USU offense and Keeton for much of the game.
Keeton was able to complete a number of his passes to receivers for first downs, but when the game was on the line, the secondary was tough. Preston Hadley recorded an interception on a botched trick play. Jordan Johnson had some nice pass breakups.
SPECIAL TEAMS: D+
Some solid punting from Riley Stephenson elevated this score, but the kicking game has turned into a constant misadventure. Justin Sorensen had a 34 yard field goal blocked. His extra point attempt at the end of the first half was no good. Even a fake field goal attempt went awry. J.D. Falslev rolled out from the holder position, hoping to throw. Instead, he slipped and fell.