Utah did not play well and really didn't deserve the game. I think this was the ugliest Holy War since McBride's final season and to tell you the truth, the Utes really were lucky to be in the game. With that said, the defensive effort Saturday was great. It's just too bad it wasn't enough to win the game.
Offense: D - Utah's offense was horrible for most of the day, except at the end when they finally reached the end zone. The play calling was really bad, especially that triple reverse which failed miserably. Mack only had 13 carries on the day, which was a pathetic number and barely touched the ball on Utah's first trip to the Cougars' red zone. There Utah turned it over, costing the team at least 3 points -- which could have ultimately been the difference in the game.
Brian Johnson was not good, the receivers couldn't catch and the play calling was poor. The Utes barely had any sustained drives and I was really disappointed in the offensive line play. This is without a doubt the worst offensive performance since the UNLV game.
Defense: B - I want to give the defense an A, but I can't get over giving up a first down on 4th and 18. That play will haunt Utah for the rest of the year, knowing that a stop there would have essentially ended any BYU comeback. With that said, the defense did a great job at getting to Max Hall and shutting down the passing lane to the tight ends.
It wasn't perfect, though. Unga pretty much had his way with Utah early and the Cougars, like the Utes, dropped some key passes. In fact, Utah was an Austin Collie catch from losing the game. But I can't help but agonize over that final drive, which I think Gary Andersen actually called very well. He put pressure on Hall, forced a sack and on 4th and 18 did the exact opposite of what he did last year, went to man coverage and it should have worked. Except McCain failed to make the stop, the catch was caught and BYU got a huge first down. It's important, though, to realize that while Utah could have won with a stop there, they did not lose the game on that play. Which takes me to the next grade.
Refs: F - I'm not going to blame the officials for this loss. However, when Utah gave up that first down on BYU's final drive, the Cougars were still far from being in field goal range, especially with their kicking troubles. It was three calls, two BS pass interference calls and an absurd personal foul, that put BYU in scoring position. Had those calls not been made, Utah probably holds BYU to the point where the Cougars are setting up for a 45-yarder to win the game. Now the question, do they make it?
Special Teams: B - Louie Sakoda did what was asked from him, making a field goal and a huge extra point in the final minutes of the game. Utah's kick off and punt coverage wasn't bad and the special teams performed about as good as I thought they would.
- Andy Ludwig: D - Ugh, Andy. I've bit my tongue over the past few weeks because Utah has won, but Saturday was not a game he called well at all. The offense was impotent, barely moved down field and essentially cost Utah an 8th straight victory. The 13 touches for Mack, trick plays and the fact Utah passed on 3rd and 4 from the goal line really do not sit well with me.
- Gary Andersen: A - It's just too bad the offense couldn't help out Andersen's D. The defensive effort was pretty spectacular, even with what happened at the end of the game. I just wish it were enough.
- Kyle Whittingham: B - I'm not putting this loss on Whittingham. Utah wasn't embarrassed and he had his team ready to play. It's just they couldn't find any offensive production and that was the difference.
Oh well, maybe next year?