There was a point in the second quarter of Saturday’s game in Austin – the 12:15 mark to be exact – where BYU had just capped a 97-yard drive with a Heaps-to-Apo touchdown pass. The scoreboard read BYU 13 Texas 0, and Cougar fans were giddy with excitement about their team’s prospects. Visions of an undefeated season danced in the head.

Unfortunately, the rest of the game went downhill from that point. The offense misfired continually, spitting the ball back to Texas four times on 3-and-outs and twice on interceptions.

Defense: B
The Cougar D kept the game close as long as they could, but the offensive misfires in the second half wore them down. In a stellar first quarter for BYU’s defenders where they forced two punts and had two picks, the Longhorn offense ran just 14 plays and spent less than 6 minutes on the field.

But how long can you keep your mental sharpness and physical stamina intact when the offense keeps pushing you back on the field in 99-degree heat?

The play that sealed the game was a perfectly executed trick play where Longhorn freshman wide receiver Jaxon Shipley (younger brother of Cincinnati Bengals WR Jordan Shipley) threw to freshman QB David Ash for 23 yards on a third and six at the Texas 47-yard line. There’s a reason Texas saved that play until late in the fourth quarter. It wouldn’t have worked against a fresh Cougar defense.

Statistical standouts for the game included both safeties; Daniel Sorenson and Travis Uale each had 5 tackles with 4 and 3 assists, respectively. Sorenson also had an interception late in the first quarter that led to the only Cougar TD of the game. Spencer Hadley had 7 tackles and 5 assists, and Hebron Fangupo had two TFLs. Suprisingly, Uona Kavienga only had 3 assists in the game.

There’s not much else to say about the Cougar Defense. They are rock-solid and capable of keeping the Y in any game, as they did against Texas, no matter how poorly the Offense if playing.

Offense: C
Admittedly, this grade might be a bit inflated. The Cougars thoroughly dominated Texas at the start of the game, chewing up nearly 191 yards of Austin real estate, over 11 minutes of the clock, and putting three scores on the board in their first four possessions.

But that was pretty much all Jake Heaps & Company wrote. Their last 3 first half possessions ended in punt, interception, and the end of the clock. Aside from a 55-yard, 12-play drive in the third quarter that yielded BYU’s final 3 points in the game, the Offense was downright offensive. Four other possessions in the second half produced three punts and an interception.

Heaps’ two interceptions were both costly. The first was thrown directly at a Texas defender near the end of the first half with no Cougar receiver within 3 yards. If it was a busted play, then it was really busted. The Longhorns cashed that miscue in for a 23-yard field goal. The second Longhorn pick of the day pretty much clinched the game as Texas ran out the final four minutes of clock.

The O-line allowed one sack and several hurries, but it was more about Heaps holding onto the rock too long. Texas has excellent speed and they often appeared to be too fast for Heaps to find the open man.

Heaps’ stat line was 22-38, 192 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT. BYU’s Texas Connection, Ross Apo and McKay Jacobson, had 3 receptions each for 40 and 17 yards, respectively, with Apo recording the only touchdown of the game for the Cougars on a 6-yard grab in the end zone.

Austin Holt had 2 grabs for 41 yards and Richard Wilson had 2 for 11, but the tight ends were non-existent in the second half of the game. J.J. DiLuigi was dependable as usual, with 44 yards on 14 carries (2.8 avg) and 3 receptions good for 24 yards.

Time of possession was in the Cougar’s favor in the first half (16:12 to 13:48) and Texas returned the favor after the break with a 17:15 to 12:45 advantage. No wonder the Defense didn’t have much gas in the tank in the final minutes.

The Cougars were 5 of 14 in third down conversions (35%) and a perfect 4 for 4 in the red zone (3 FGs, 1TD).

Special Teams: C+
Justin Sorenson was responsible for 10 of BYU’s 16 points (3 for 3 FGs, 1-1 XP). He had one touchback out of his four kickoffs and made a touchdown-saving tackle on Marquise Goodwin’s 40-yard return in the third quarter. Jaxon Shipley also had a 20-yard punt return that he almost broke, so there’s a need for the kick and punt return coverage teams to regroup and patch the holes in their nets.

Riley Stephenson had a perfectly placed punt on the Texas 2-yard line, and a long of 49 yards, finishing with a 38.4 average on 5 punts. McKay Jacobson fumbled twice on kickoffs, recovering his own once and a teammate recovered the other for him. Cody Hoffman returned one kickoff for 24 yards.

Final Team Grade: C+