BYU football beat writer Jared Lloyd evaluates the performance of every position group and the coaches from Saturday’s BYU-Liberty game at LaVell Edwards Stadium:
Baylor Romney wasn’t brilliant but he made a couple of huge throws, finding Micah Simon for a deep ball early in the game and then the score, while tacking on a pair of second-half TD passes as well. He did have the interception but overall he managed things well.
Lopini Katoa and Sione Finau found a few holes but didn’t have many big runs. Finau’s fumble was costly because the Cougars were rolling but the BYU backs deserve credit for their blocking against the Liberty blitzes.
The Cougars hurt themselves with some costly penalties, including drive-killing holding and snap infraction calls. BYU only gave up one sack and that was on a scramble. This group certainly wants to be better than it was.
The Cougars got a huge first half from senior Micah Simon, who caught a TD and threw a TD pass. BYU got touchdown catches from Aleva Hifo and Moroni Laulu-Pututau as eight players had receptions.
The Cougars had a tough time flustering Liberty quarterback Stephen Colvert, who got the ball out quick when they blitzed and was patient when they rushed three. Khyiris Tonga had a brilliant third-down stop in the final quarter.
The linebackers weren’t able to force any turnovers against the Flames and struggled to slow the Liberty passing game when they dropped in coverage. Keenan Pili got a third-down sack but this wasn’t an elite showing.
The BYU secondary simply had a tough time staying with the Flame receivers as Liberty ended up with over 300 yards passing with Antonio Gandy-Golden having another monster game for Liberty.
The Cougar special teams was solid all night long. The big play was Isaiah Kaufusi recovering an onside kick when the Flames tried to catch the Cougars napping. Jake Oldroyd made his only field goal attempt.
Kalani Sitake and his staff didn’t find ways to truly gain control of the game, particularly on defense. BYU wasn’t bad and some things worked, but in other areas the Cougars really struggled. It wasn’t great but the execution was definitely lacking at times.