BYU football beat writer Jared Lloyd evaluates the performance of every position group and the coaches from Saturday’s BYU-USF game at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida:
Jaren Hall made great plays while running the ball, gaining 110 yards and scoring a TD, but lost 27 yards on sacks. After Hall got hurt, Baylor Romney guided the Cougars into the USF red zone twice but couldn’t get the ball in the end zone.
Lopini Katoa had 11 carries for 73 yards, Emmanuel Esukpa had 13 carries for 43 yards and Sione Finau had seven carries for 27 yards. It was a pretty good day for BYU running backs except where it mattered most.
The Cougars did better on third-and-short situations and rushed for 218 yards, which are positives. The failure to maintain the momentum to get the ball into the end zone, however, is a glaring issue and the line is a big part of that.
The Cougars had some players come up with big grabs, including Dax Milne snagging a one-handed touchdown. This group also made some nice blocks down field in the run game.
The Cougars got steamrolled at the line of scrimmage, failing to shut down running lanes even though USF was basically just lining up and running right at them.
The linebackers almost always got beat to the point of attack by blockers and had a tough time preventing solid gains on the ground. Even though the Cougars are young, that’s not acceptable for a BYU defense.
Other than Beau Tanner’s mistake on the one long touchdown pass, BYU wasn’t hurt through the air — although USF had at least two other chances for big pass plays. The run support wasn’t great either.
The Cougar special teams had some key miscues, including a costly drop on a punt attempt, giving up some being kickoff returns and a missed field goal.
Kalani Sitake and his defensive staff had two weeks to work on scheming more effectively to stop the run — and failed. The BYU offense still struggles in near the end zone. Where is the improvement?