BYU football beat writer Jared Lloyd evaluates the performance of every position group and the coaches from Saturday’s BYU-SDSU game at SDCCU Stadium:
Zach Wilson made some nice throws and gained a lot of yards, but the three turnovers (two interceptions, one fumble) and the inability to get the Cougars into the end zone at all were unacceptable to him and everyone else.
Lopini Katoa made a few nice plays in the pass game but for the most part San Diego State was able to neutralize the Cougar rushing attack by filling the gaps. This group was called on to do a lot of blocking with limited success.
The Cougars weren’t terrible against the Aztec blitz packages, officially giving up just two sacks and five total tackles for a loss. The problem was that they couldn’t open up holes in the run game now keep SDSU from forcing hurried throws.
The Cougars showed a glaring weakness in this area in this game, the inability to consistently win one-on-one battles on the edges. Gunner Romney made a great catch on a deep ball but particularly near the end zone, it was the Aztec defenders who made all the plays.
The Cougars did fairly well up front, holding the talented San Diego State running backs to just 97 total yards on the ground. BYU generally had at least four guys up on the line and that limited the holes for the Aztecs.
The linebackers made a lot of tackles as Isaiah Kaufusi, Payton Wilgar and Kavika Fonua combined for 23 stops to lead the Cougars. They were disappointed in the missed opportunities to force momentum-shifting turnovers.
The BYU secondary held the Aztecs to 172 yards passing, more than half of which came on three plays. San Diego State attacked D’Angelo Mandell and Isaiah Herron on most of the pass plays and were able to get some key third-down conversions.
The Cougar special teams had a terrible game, missing two short field goal attempts and setting up the only San Diego State touchdown with a 30-yard punt. The only nice play was Aleva Hifo’s early 19-yard punt return but that wasn’t enough to improve the marks much.
Fans will blame Kalani Sitake and his staff for the poor offensive performance but the reality is there were a lot of plays there to be made. The Cougar players failed to execute, particularly in the red zone, but the coaches can only do so much. The defensive performance overall was pretty good.