BYU-West Virginia football grades: No good marks from debacle in Morgantown
BYU football beat writer Jared Lloyd gives his grades for the Cougar position units and coaches for Saturday’s game against West Virginia at Milar Puskar Stadium in Morgantown, W.V.:
Jake Ratzlaff made some solid runs and decent throws, but he also missed a number of open receivers and made mistakes that resulted in negative plays. The bottom line is points and he couldn’t direct a scoring drive until the game was well out of reach. It wasn’t terrible for his first game (no interceptions) but there was a lot to improve on.
Aidan Robbins had 10 carries for 37 yards with the only TD with three catches for 31 yards. There weren’t many holes to run through and the screen game was hit-and-miss. This unit was just OK on pass blocking as well, which didn’t help the protection as much as it needed.
Wide receivers/tight ends
Keelan Marion was the most popular target for Retzlaff, who threw it his way 12 times (six receptions). Marion, Chase Roberts and Parker Kingston all had nearly the same amount of yards, although Kingston’s costly fumble dropped the grade a little. There were also a couple of drops and terrible blocks on screen plays.
BYU needed this group to be at its best with a QB making his first start — and it wasn’t. The run blocking continued to be awful for much of the game and the pass blocking wasn’t anywhere near as good as it needed to be either as the Cougars surrendered three sacks and a host of hurries. Both scheme and technique have to be in question after such a bad performance.
The Cougar defensive line faced a complex West Virginia running attack where it needed to tie up blockers and stay in the right places. It did neither well, as evidenced by how many huge holes Mountaineers running backs had to run through. BYU wasn’t able to register a sack and struggled to disrupt West Virginia’s offense at all.
Max Tooley led BYU with 12 tackles but he had a couple of costly penalties as well. The Cougar linebackers usually had blockers getting them out of position as the Mountaineers moved the ball with ease, mostly on the ground but in the air as well.
Eddie Heckard, Crew Wakely and Ethan Slade were three of BYU’s top tacklers, which is never a good sign against a team that wants to run the ball. They also gave up so big plays through the air and got called for some tough penalties. Still, without the secondary making some plays the final would’ve been a lot worse.
Ryan Rehkow had four punts with a 45.2-yard average, but couldn’t seem to get locked in to pin West Virginia really deep in its own territory. Keelan Marion and Hobbs Nyberg both had some decent returns, although the penalty nullified Marion’s return for a touchdown. Will Ferrin missed a 50-yard field goal attempt as well.
The Cougars knew they needed to be disciplined against the Mountaineers but failed miserably to get the job done on both sides of the ball. Coaches have the responsibility to have their guys prepared and adjust as the game progresses but BYU looked to be outcoached from the start. The Cougar coaching staff has a lot of work to do to get BYU back on track.