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ATLANTA -- OVERALL: A-
BYU racked up 411 yards of offense against quality ACC athletes and held a Georgia Tech running game that ranked 3rd in the nation to 117 yards rushing. It was probably BYU's best effort as a team to-date this season. The only real negative marks go to BYU special teams. The Cougars missed a chip-shot field goal and gave up a 97 yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
BYU passed for 228 yards and rushed for 183 yards, providing a very balanced attack. The Cougars were also 9 of 16 on third downs. Perhaps what was most impressive considering the competition is the Cougars possessed the ball for 38:59 to Georgia Tech's 21:01. That's hard to do against anybody, let alone an option, ground-oriented team like the Yellow Jackets.
Riley Nelson did throw a pass that turned into a pick-six - a 22-yard return for Tech's Isaiah Johnson. Otherwise, he was fairly efficient. He completed 19 of 28 passes for 204 yards, a touchdown and the INT. Though underthrown, a pass to Ross Apo in the first half netted 43 yards and showed the big play potential this team could have under slightly better circumstances this year. James Lark was 1 of 1 for 24 yards during garbage time.
RUNNING BACKS: A
17-year-old freshman Jamaal Williams continues to impress every week. This week was his best game as a Cougar to date. He carried the ball 28 times for 107 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also hauled in 3 catches for 54 yards and a score - the touchdown coming off a shovel pass from Nelson. Williams outran defenders on the way to a 39 yard touchdown. J.D. Falslev was an unlikely spark in the backfield, rushing the ball 3 times for 32 yards. Paul Lasike in mop-up duty ran the ball 4 times for 18 yards (4.5 ypc).
Cody Hoffman was his consistent self, hauling in 7 catches for 69 yards. Ross Apo dazzled with the 43 yard first half reception and finished with 3 catches for 55 yards. Skyler Ridley was the beneficiary of a nice 24 yard pass from Lark. This unit, because of quarterback limitations, has been under-utilized this season but showed a glimmer of their potential against the Yellow Jackets.
OFFENSIVE LINE: B+
This may have been the offensive line's best performance this season, considering the competition. At times, the line opened up big holes for Williams. The line also did a solid job of pass protection. The O-line's performance was even more impressive considering how depleted it has become. Converted defensive lineman Tui Crichton saw time in the game.
How could you assign anything less to the performance of the BYU defense. Georgia Tech ranked third in the country in rushing heading into this week (339.57 ypg) and the Cougar D held the Jackets to 117 yards rushing (3.3 ypc). Tech also ranked 13th in the nation in pass efficiency, albeit on very few pass attempts. The Cougars limited the Yellow Jackets to 4 of 12 passing for 40 yards and an interception. Tech had averaged nearly 38 points per game. The BYU defense held the Tech offense to 3 points and 0 of 10 on third downs. This may have been the Cougars best defensive performance of the season, and if not it was a close second to the defensive masterpiece in September at Boise State.
DEFENSIVE LINE: A
What was impressive - and the same can be said for the linebackers - was the lateral movement and assignment-sound football. Georgia Tech never got its offensive attack going, and when Tech quarterbacks Tevin Washington and Vad Lee attempted to throw, they frequently had Ezekiel Ansah or another defender on their heels.
Kyle Van Noy once again stood out, getting into the backfield frequently to disrupt plays and generate tackles for loss. The rest of the linebacking corp continued its solid play. The linebackers and defensive line redeemed themselves from perhaps their worst showing of the season, giving up 270 yards rushing to Notre Dame last week.
Daniel Sorensen had the highlight defensive play of the game, an interception he nearly returned for six. Instead, he took the ball to the Georgia Tech 2 yard line, and that ultimately set up a one-yard scoring jaunt by Williams. One of the keys against an option-oriented attack like Georgia Tech's is to not get beat over the top by play action. It never happened in this game. The Yellow Jackets' longest gain through the air was 12 yards.
SPECIAL TEAMS: B-
Giving up a 97 yard kickoff return for a touchdown was a major negative. In any game, that kind of gaffe is inexcusable and sometimes can make the difference in a contest. Fortunately, it did not. Justin Sorensen missed a chip-shot 26-yard field goal. That also should never happen. Still, the grade gets a boost from the two field goals Sorensen did make, and a punt block by Van Noy. BYU historically has not been a good kick-blocking team. It's been a far different story this season. J.D. Falslev's kickoff returns were also huge. He had 3 kick returns for 129 yards (43.0 avg), consistently setting the Cougars up with good field position.