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SAN JOSE, Calif. -- OVERALL: C
BYU faced a sneaky-tough opponent on its home turf. San Jose State thrashed the Cougars with a potent passing attack in the first half, then held on for the 20-14 win. The what-ifs no doubt are killing BYU fans. What if the defense didn't give up almost 300 yards in the first half? What if the offense took advantage of every possession that it had inside SJSU territory? Ultimately, the offense did not show the consistency it needed and suffered from the same problems it has experienced all season. The defense redeemed itself to some degree with a stifling effort in the second half.
422 yards isn't bad output against a Spartan defense that had been fairly solid all season. Still, the Cougars seemed off a bit all night when it counted. 3 turnovers were costly. BYU was only 6 of 18 on third down.
Once again, Riley Nelson was gritty, passed for 335 yards and made plays that helped BYU. He also made a number of plays that hurt BYU. He attempted 51 throws, which is too much for his ability level. His turnovers came at extremely inopportune times. The unit grade suffers.
RUNNING BACKS: B
Jamaal Williams had 62 yards and a touchdown on 15 carries. He also caught 3 passes for 50 yards. He continues to make plays that impress. Often times, he was left to his own devices by an offensive line that more frequently resembled a sieve. David Foote caught 2 passes for 33 yards and a score. That touchdown got BYU back in the game enough to make the final minutes interesting.
Cody Hoffman once again impressed. He had 13 catches for 155 yards. J.D. Falslev was an occasional spark with 3 catches for 43 yards. The receivers were not the problem for the offense.
OFFENSIVE LINE: D+
Offensive struggles have been a recurring theme against quality opponents this season. Often Nelson was running for his life, and Williams continues to be forced to gain ground yards against all odds. Poor blocking led to one fumble and other missteps.
BYU would have earned close to a failing grade for its first half performance, where it gave up nearly 300 yards and 237 yards and 3 touchdowns to SJSU quarterback David Fales. It redeemed itself to a large degree in the second half by generating stops and buying time for the BYU offense.
DEFENSIVE LINE: C
The Cougar front helped to limit the Spartans to 59 yards rushing, but ultimately the D-line did not do a very good job of mounting pressure on Fales or the rest of the Spartan offense. In the first half, the line seemed to struggle for motivation. The play in the second half was better.
Kyle Van Noy continues to look like a sure-fire NFLer. He had a sack and a fumble recovery. The linebackers, like the defensive line, struggled in the first half and played much better in the second half.
Spartan wide receiver Noel Grigsby exploited the secondary - particularly Jordan Johnson - en route to 132 yards and 2 scores on 8 catches. Tight end Ryan Otten beat the safeties on two big catches, including a 38 yarder. Daniel Sorensen did record an interception.
SPECIAL TEAMS: A
No gripes here. There were no field goals missed, though none were attempted. Justin Sorensen made his extra points. The Cougars blocked a Spartan extra point. Riley Stephenson's punts were spot-on all night (50.0 avg, 2 inside 20). BYU also perfectly executed an onside kick late in the game.