Although BYU pulled off the win against Central Florida on Friday night, the offense, and in particular, the passing game, continues to misfire. Without a stellar performance by the Cougar special teams units and a bend-but-don’t-break effort by the defense, UCF would have prevailed.

Offense Grade: C

Fortunately, the Cougar rushing game came alive in the second half and finished with 127 yards. Zed Mendenhall helped open some nice holes for J.J. DiLuigi (7 carries, 38 yards, 5.4 avg, 1 TD) and Bryan Kariya (14 rushes, 52 yards, 3.7 avg, 1 TD).

The lack of a potent passing attack continues to hamper the Cougar offense.

At the 12:50 mark of the third quarter, BYU had a 1st and 10 on the UCF 40-yard line. A play action pass was called and McKay Jacobson beat his man by four yards in single coverage on a post pattern. The pass protection was excellent and Jake Heaps had 3.5 seconds after the snap to set up, find his target, and release. He ended up overthrowing Jacobson on what would’ve been a sure touchdown. Following another incomplete pass, Heaps under threw Jacobson on a 3rd and 10 quick slant. Several other passes were similarly off-target and a few were dropped.

Heaps finished with 133 yards passing (16 of 34, 47.1%, 3.9 yards per attempt, 1 INT) in his fourth straight lackluster performance this season. Contrast his stat line against UCF’s sophomore QB Godfrey who went 17-25, 272 yards, 10.9 yards per attempt, 1INT.

Defense Grade: B+

The defense held UCF to 81 yards rushing, thanks to four sacks that generated -23 yards. They caused three fumbles, recovering one of them, and nabbed one interception. UCF QBs Jeff Godfrey and backup Blake Bortles combined for 318 yards passing (10.3 yds per attempt) and Corby Eason continues to be an Achille’s heel for the secondary. The defense turned in a bend-but-don’t break type of performance, but they also managed to come up with the big plays when they were needed, such as the forced fumble at midfield when UCF was driving midway through the fourth quarter.

Special Teams Grade: A

BYU’s special teams play was exceptional. Cody Hoffman’s 93-yard TD kickoff return was the momentum changer in the game, answering UCF as soon the Knights had pulled ahead late in the third quarter, 17-10.

The punt coverage team generated a fumble that gave the offense the ball on the UCF 23-yard line early in the fourth quarter (following an excessive celebration penalty). Bryan Kariya scored three plays later in what figured to be the game-winning TD. Riley Stephenson had a 45.3 average on 6 punts, with three of his punts downed inside the 20. Justin Sorenson banged in a 37-yard field goal and all three extra points. He also booted touchbacks on all but one of his kickoffs.

Coaching Grade: B-

Brandon Doman moved to the coaching sky box and his play calling showed signs of improvement. Proof point: Facing third and one at the UCF 16-yard line, Heaps faked a dive to Mendenhall (sucking the entire UCF defensive line into the middle) and pitched wide right to J.J. DiLuigi who scooted down the sideline for the score. BYU’s inability to pass consistently must be corrected or it will continue to be a drag on the team’s confidence and ability to score.

Overall Team Grade: B