BYU 45, Colorado State 42
Cougar team grade: C-plus

After yielding 42 points Saturday to Colorado State—20 more than the Rams were averaging—the Cougars have now given up 109 points in their last trio of games. Remember those two early season back-to-back shutouts over UCLA and Wyoming? Don’t try to figure out where that team went. It will drive you crazy.

Just hope they figure out how to get some of that mojo back on defense before they hit the road to Colorado Springs and Salt Lake City later this month.

Cougar Offense grade: B

Despite three turnovers that contributed to half the Ram scoreboard, the offense is beginning to click like the version folks saw earlier this season.

First, the bad. Max Hall fumbled on BYU’s second play from scrimmage and the Rams cashed it in for seven points and a quick lead. Much later in the game, with three minutes remaining, he tossed an ill-advised pass that was intercepted. One play later, CSU scored on a 55-yard touchdown pass. J.J. Diluigi fumbled in the fourth quarter and the Rams scored four plays later. That’s 21 points the offense gave the Rams.

Fortunately for BYU, the good was really good. Hall managed to overcome his two turnovers with 391 yards passing (28 of 35 with five TDs). His two favorite targets had huge games: Dennis Pitta had 12 receptions for 175 yards and two TDs. Austin Collie had his seventh straight 100-yard receiving performance with nine for 159 yards and three touchdowns. Michael Reed was largely overlooked with 16 yards gained on two receptions. Still, opposing defenses respect him and he keeps them honest on his side of the field.

Harvey Unga bulled out 130 yards on 24 carries (5.4 per-attempt average) and scored the Cougars’ other touchdown. Fui Vakapuna only had two carries, but he picked up 17 clutch yards and caught another pass for seven.

Cougar Defense grade: C

The numbers don’t lie. The Cougar defense isn’t the same animal it was earlier this season. Still, with the offense bailing it out, the unit’s bend-but-not-break personality managed to work once again.

The defense gave up 392 total yards (270 passing, 122 rushing) and Colorado State scored on two long pass plays. Gartrell Johnson became the first 100-yard rusher against BYU this season with 102 yards on 18 carries (5.7 per try).

Even though it seemed like Billy Farris could pass at will against the Y, he barely completed over 50 percent of his throws (18 of 35). The Rams converted 5 of 12 third-down attempts and failed once on a fourth-down try. That’s a big improvement over the 11 for 15 third-down conversions UNLV recorded last week against the Cougars.

If you take away the seven points Hall handed to the Rams on the first possession of the game, the short field the Rams picked up on their fourth-quarter interception that led to a quick score, and the questionable penalty on the blocked punt attempt that led to CSU’s second touchdown, the defense played well enough to win this game better than the final score indicates.

Cougar Special Teams grade: B

The Cougar special teams turned in a solid, above-average performance. Mitch Payne was perfect on six extra point attempts and he nailed a 30-yard field goal that turned out to be the winning margin. Justin Sorensen recorded four touchbacks off seven kickoffs.

C.J. Santiago punted twice for a 48.5-yard average. Spencer Hafoka fumbled a punt early in the fourth quarter that Brandon Howard recovered after losing 18 yards from the fumble point.

Collie averaged over 25 yards per kick return on four tries. O’Neill Chambers returned two kicks for a 21.5-yard average. The Rams averaged 29 yards per kickoff return on three opportunities and 9 yards per punt return