Is it too early to start the Taysom Hill Heisman Trophy campaign?
The BYU signal-caller was absolutely surgical in the 35-10 victory over the UConn Huskies on Friday night in East Hartford, Connecticut. Hill threw for 308 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns. It was a career-high five touchdowns in one game for the Idaho native.
There were considerable questions heading into the game for Bronco Mendenhall's team.
The suspensions of Jamaal Williams, Devon Blackmon, Jordan Johnson and Robertson Daniel did not make the long trip to Connecticut easy. Williams is the team's best running back, and the duo of Daniel and Johnson start as the corners in the Cougars' secondary.
However, the combination of Hill and Alge Brown led a dominating rush attack. BYU also relinquished only 282 yards through the air versus the quarterback tandem of Casey Cochran and Chandler Whitmer.
BYU will look to use this game as a launching pad forward with the hopes of playing in a big bowl game.
Final stats from the game can be found here, courtesy of NCAA.com.
Check out our first-half and final game grades for the Cougars. Additional analysis for different position units will also be addressed.
|BYU Cougars Game Grades|
|Position Unit||First-Half Grade||Final Grade|
|Aug. 29 at Connecticut|
BYU Cougars Game Analysis
Pass Offense: Hill was clicking on all cylinders from the start of the contest. He went a sizzling 17-of-20 in the first half, making decisive throws and smart decisions.
The talented signal-caller finished 28-of-36 for 308 yards and three touchdowns. Although he sputtered a bit in the third quarter, it was patently apparent Hill has improved in his mechanics throwing the football. He certainly looked more comfortable in the pocket as opposed to a year ago. If he continues on this trajectory, he'll be in the hunt for postseason honors.
Run Offense: Unsurprisingly, a large chunk of the rush attack fell on the shoulders (and legs) of the aforementioned quarterback. He led the team with 97 yards on the ground. Alge Brown and Paul Lasike also contributed with a combined 76 yards on the ground.
In the absence of Jamaal Williams, the group rushed for 197 yards on 35 carries. The 5.6 yards per carry average was buoyed by a strong effort of the offensive line.
Pass Defense: Without its two starting corners, BYU did do an admirable job. It only allowed 282 yards through the air on the evening.
There were a few busted coverages, but the unit didn't allow many big plays. If anything, Mendenhall has to be pleased with the possibility of building depth within the unit. This game will give experience to some of the younger members of the secondary.
Run Defense: The BYU defensive front led by Bronson Kaufusi did a very nice job against the beleaguered UConn front. The Cougars held UConn to 72 yards on 32 carries. This equates out to a 2.3 yards per carry average.
BYU did a fantastic job of plugging the holes up front. Gap integrity was sound, as was the tackling of the ball carriers across the board.
Special Teams: The effort was decent for the most part. Mitchell Juergens looked explosive and dangerous as a returner. He gives BYU a nice element in that capacity.
Kicker Trevor Samson missed a chip shot 33-yard field goal in the second half. Punter Scott Arellano looked good with his rugby style punting. He had a long of 51 yards.
Coaching: Mendenhall called a very good first half. The offense looked dynamic, and the defense held UConn to seven points. In the third quarter, the staff got a bit too conservative with the play-calling.
If one considers penalties a sign of coaching, Mendenhall's grade could be significantly lower. BYU was victimized by 15 penalties for an eye-popping 150 yards. There's simply no excuse for this lack of maturity and discipline.
Mendenhall's team did win by 25 points. It'd be difficult to give him a grade worse than a "B."