Daily Herald BYU football beat writer and sports editor Jared Lloyd evaluates the performance of every position group and the coaches in the BYU-San Jose State State game at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday.
Tanner Mangum started out really strong with a pair of good deep throws, including locking in for a pair of touchdowns. Drops and missed opportunities, however, limited Mangum’s effectiveness as the game progressed.
KJ Hall was brilliant on his 75-yard TD run, showing speed and explosiveness. He also was a weapon out of the backfield, but got hurt again. Squally Canada had a couple of nice runs and Brayden El-Bakri had a big gain as he broke a number of tackles.
The Cougars opened up big holes and kept Tanner Mangum from getting hit too frequently. They probably had their best overall game of the season as BYU had 598 yards of offense.
The Cougars spread the ball around and got a lot of guys involved. Micah Simon and Matt Bushman had touchdown catches, but Simon and Aleva Hifo also dropped catchable balls in the end zone. There was definite improvement but it wasn’t perfect.
BYU surrendered more rushing yards than it would’ve liked but got a little more pressure with Sione Takitaki. The Cougar front four held their own better than in any game this year.
Butch Pau’u made a number of key plays early while the Cougars played a lot of guys at the linebacker spot. Morgan Unga was solid and Langi Tuifua had a fumble recovery.
The Cougar defensive backs were generally in good positions. Michael Shelton hauled in an over-the-shoulder interception, while Dayan Ghanwoloku had a pick that got taken away because of a penalty. BYU only gave up 198 yards through the air with many coming late, which was a good showing.
The Cougars got a big hit, forced fumble and fumble recovery by Brayden El-Bakri early in the game but Rhett Almond missed an easy field goal. BYU also recovered a fumble off a muffed punt.
The Cougar aggressiveness paid dividends against the overmatched Spartans as BYU took control early, then overwhelmed San Jose State in the second half. For the first time, the Cougars looked like the better-prepared team on the field.