BYU Report Card vs. Oregon State- Post from Tuesday, October 18th, 2011
The Cougars finally displayed the offense everyone expected to see at the beginning of the season and their ability to move the ball at will against Oregon State isn’t reflected in the 10-point margin. The Beavers may be a lower echelon Pac-12 team, but they were coming off an impressive win last weekend over Nick Foles and Arizona and they had home field advantage.
Offense grade: B+
It is now indisputable that BYU’s offense is a totally different animal with Riley Nelson taking the snaps. The entire team seems faster and appears to play harder. Nelson’s release has gotten quicker, too. He still lacks zip on a lot of his passes, but he is developing quickly. He’s got a motor that doesn’t want to stop and his field vision and rapid acceleration help buy time for his receivers to get open.
His stat line was an impressive 17-27, 217 yards, 3 TDs, 1 int., and 87 yards on 12 carries. To be sure, Nelson has gaps to address. He had Ross Apo wide open in the end zone with 6:40 remaining in the third quarter and he was five yards short with his pass.
Cody Hoffman had a stellar performance with 9 receptions, 162 yards, and a score. He made a phenomenal 46-yard grab from two defenders at the 9:21 mark of the third period that you have to see to believe. He doesn’t get separation very often but he’s got the height, the hops, the hands and the fight to come down with the ball most of the time. He’s the most reliable receiver on the team.
The ground game was virtually unstoppable and the backs are finally running north and south with a lot of punch into the line. In addition to Nelson’s yardage, Michael Alisa picked up 84 yards on 20 carries, J.J. DiLuigi had 74 yards on 8 attempts, and Josh Quezada ran three times for 26 yards.
A fumble by Alisa and a Nelson pass intercepted and returned for a touchdown lowered the final grade.
Defense grade: B+
The fact that the defense was able to hold the Beavers to 59 yards rushing after losing Hebron Fangupo and Romney Fuga early in the game is a testament to BYU’s depth and the heart that the squad is playing with right now. Matt Putnam couldn’t have returned to the team at a better time. The linebacking corps turns in a highlight reel of their own every game with Van Noy, Kaveinga, Ogletree, and Pendleton stuffing gaps, patrolling the flats, and in general, creating chaos in the opposing team’s backfield.
On one play in the late in the first half, Pendleton blitzed from the right side but failed to bring down Oregon State QB Sean Mannion. He wiped out 5-7 yards beyond the action but he popped back up and gave chase, dragging Mannion down for a 3-yard loss. Van Noy had a tackle for an 11-yard loss on an end reverse and he also picked off another pass and returned it 42 yards to set up the Cougars’ second score. Ogletree was a beast in his own right, registering two forced fumbles and an interception on three straight Beaver possessions.
Corby Eason made a few nice plays and got burned a few times, most notably on a 59-yard bomb from Sean Mannion to true freshman Brendan Cooks with 2:10 left in the third quarter.
Special teams grade: B-
Justin Sorenson booted a 33-yard field goal and had a 49-yard attempt blocked and returned 60 yards by the Beavers. The Cougars also yielded a 57-yard kickoff return by OSU’s Jordan Poyer. He averaged 19 yards on his other six returns. Cody Hoffman returned two kickoffs for a 20-yard average. Riley Stephenson placed his one punt inside the Beavers’ 20.
Team Grade: B+
This was a good road win for BYU, especially when you consider the Cougars had to overcome two turnovers, 79 yards in penalties, and a blocked field goal. The team is playing with grit and gaining momentum at a good time but their true nature will be revealed on October 28 against TCU.
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