Offense Grade with Jake Heaps (8 possessions, 2 FGs, 1 TD): C-

Offense Grade with Riley Nelson (4 possessions, 2 TDs, 1 missed FG, 1 fumble): A-

Talk about a tale of two offenses. Riley Nelson energized the entire team near the end of the third quarter and the offense promptly doubled the total yardage and points they had scored with Heaps at the helm. If not for DiLuigi’s fumble at the Utah State 28-yard line on the third drive under Nelson, the Cougars could’ve had another score.

Nelson’s line compared to Heaps:

Nelson: 10 of 14 (71.4%), 144 yards (10.3 yds per att), 2 TDs and 205.0 QB Rating.

Heaps: 11 of 26 (42.3%) 108 yards (4.2 yds per att), 77.2 QB Rating.

Nelson also ended up as BYU’s leading rusher with 62 yards on 11 carries (5.6 yd avg). DiLuigi gained 50 yards on 11 carries (4.5 yd avg) and he had a costly fumble at the Aggie 28-yard line with 4 minutes remaining that almost cost the Cougars the game. Bryan Kariya pounded out 42 yards on 11 rushs (3.8 avg) and Josh Quezada had 10 carries good for 40 yards and a 4.0 avg.

Several of Jake Heaps passes were dropped. It literally seemed like the receiver corps improved with Nelson at the helm. Cody Hoffman had a brilliant TD catch and finished with 4 grabs for 68 yards. McKay Jacobson had 3 receptions for 49 yards including a 40-yard gainer that kept the game-winning drive alive, and Marcus Mathews had 6 grabs for 46 yards and the winning TD.

Defense Grade: B-

You could literally call it a tale of two defenses, as well. The defense gave up 21 points to USU while Jake Heaps was in the game. After Nelson entered, they surrendered one FG. It didn’t hurt that the offense ate up over 10 minutes of clock under Nelson’s command. The defense was energized by an offense that could move the ball and they responded with some huge stops to keep the game within striking distance. Daniel Sorenson made a huge pass breakup on the Aggie’s 4th down fake punt attempt.

The Aggies gashed the defense for 283 yards on the ground, but only gave up 122 yards through the air. Aggie quarterback Chuckie Keeton was held to 52 percent completions and only 22 yards on 6 carries, effectively limiting his big play capability. 80 yards were consumed on USU’s first possession and first play of the game from scrimmage with Robert Turbin’s touchdown scamper.

Special Teams Grade: B

Definitely not the shining star like last week. Justin Sorenson hit 2 out of 3 field goal attempts … his one miss could have been a killer in the end. J.D. Falslev misplayed a crucial punt at the 3-minute mark in the final quarter and the ball rolled to the BYU 4-yard line. He could have fielded the punt and kept the ball out around the 30 to help the cause. It was a huge mental mistake.

Riley Stephenson had a 44.8-yard punting average on 4 punts and Cody Hoffman returned 4 kicks for 90 yards.  Kickoff and punt coverage was quite solid. Ezekial Ansah had a really sweet tackle on one Aggie kickoff return.

Coaching Grade: B

Quite frankly, this grade is inflated only because the tough but necessary decision to yank Heaps in favor of Nelson was made before it was too late to salvage the game.

Without the warrior mentality that Nelson brought to the field (which seemed to be contagious almost immediately), the team was incredibly lethargic on both sides of the ball. It was like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

It will be very interesting to see how the team responds from here on with Nelson in the signal caller driver’s seat. How will Doman deal with the emotional fallout young Heaps is certain to experience?

Overall Team Grade: B-

If the team had been better prepared and played with more passion from the start, they would have won this game more decisively.