BYU football report card: Cougars get excellent marks in win over Utah Utes

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Deseret News 12 September, 2021 - 02:15pm

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The BYU Cougars turned a page in their rivalry with the Utah Utes on Saturday night as they beat them 26-17 at LaVell Edwards Stadium to snap a nine-game losing streak in the series.

Many might argue that the Utes had a subpar performance, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the Cougars were excellent in their own right.

Here are the grades from the Cougars’ win:

After a performance worthy of a ‘B’ grade last week in their season opener against the Arizona Wildcats, the Cougars were better on Saturday night, although they still left some room for improvement.

The success all started up front, as BYU’s offensive line controlled a Utah defensive line that is supposed to be very good, even if it might not be as great as in the recent past. Quarterback Jaren Hall never got in a whole lot of trouble and running back Tyler Allgeier regularly had big holes to rush through.

Speaking of Hall, he was tremendous. His final stats were modest (he did throw for three touchdowns), but he made plays when he needed to. While the offensive line was very good, Hall did help himself out with his feet when plays broke down and he had to start improvising.

If there’s an area that still needs to be better, it’s the passing game. Hall has managed the first two contests of the season well and ultimately won both, but the Cougars may still need to find a way to be more explosive moving forward.

Unlike in the season opener when Hall went primarily to Neil Pau’u, he found eight different receivers on Saturday, although highly touted transfer Puka Nacua’s 37 receiving yards on four catches was the team high. The longest completion was a 33-yarder to Keanu Hill on a busted coverage, with the next longest being 17 yards.

The Cougars struggled some on this side of the ball against Arizona, but against Utah, the unit was rather tremendous. The Cougars’ pressure gave the Utes all sorts of fits throughout the night, and the secondary was very good for most of the game.

After giving up 426 yards of total offense to the Wildcats, BYU cut that number to 340 against Utah, and a bunch of players had strong performances.

Keenan Pili, Payton Wilgar, Uriah Leiataua and Carter Wheat were all credited with half a sack. Atunaisa Mahe had one of the more memorable plays of the game. Chaz Ah You and Isaiah Herron came away with turnovers. Jakob Robinson was solid in coverage most of the night. Earl Tuioti-Mariner tied Pili for the team lead in tackles.

All in all, it was a real team effort on defense, and one the Cougars can certainly build upon moving forward.

The biggest win on special teams Saturday was the fact that kicker Jake Oldroyd was back after he missed the season opener. Oldroyd missed an extra point that was long after a post-touchdown penalty, but he was 2 for 2 on field goals.

Punter Ryan Rehkow was great, as the only complaint could be that if somehow he could keep some of his booming punts inside the 5-yard line instead of having them go into the end zone for touchbacks, the Cougar defense would be in all the better shape.

There was next to nothing in the kick or punt return game, but coverage on those left a fair bit to be desired, as the Utes got good field position on some big returns.

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BYU Football | Press Briefing | Utah | Payton Wilgar | September 11, 2021

University of Utah Athletics 12 September, 2021 - 10:00pm

Utah at BYU Open Game Thread

Block U 11 September, 2021 - 09:04pm

The game, in my mind, is simple. If Utah’s offensive line plays well the Utes will win by a couple of scores and it should be a pretty business-like night. If they don’t and the offense can’t find a rhythm then it could be a struggle and stressful night. Brewer is a gamer, and if he has time he’ll pick them apart.

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