Monday Morning Report Card: BYU 37, Boise State 20

bmurphy@idahostatesman.comOctober 28, 2013 

Brian Murphy hands out the grades for Boise State’s 37-20 loss to BYU.

OFFENSE

Boise State had 499 yards of total offense, but many were empty yards because the Broncos could not hold on to the ball. Boise State had four turnovers (three fumbles and one interception), including three in eight offensive plays in the second half, when the Broncos were threatening to at least make it a game. “You turn the ball over four times, you’re not going to beat too many teams,” said quarterback Grant Hedrick, who was average in his first career start, completing 25-of-42 passes for 232 yards. He had a rushing touchdown and an interception. Running back Jay Ajayi rushed for 151 yards, but also lost a fumble (his third lost fumble of the year). Wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes had 10 receptions for 95 yards, but he also lost a fumble late in the first half. BYU scored a touchdown on the next possession. Hedrick was stuffed on a fourth-and-1 attempt in the first half, and Ajayi was stuffed on fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter. Aaron Burks had a nice diving catch for 47 yards, but as a whole the Broncos’ wide receivers have not won enough contested balls this season. The fact that BYU’s receivers were able to fight over coverage for tough catches only highlighted the issue. Grade: D

DEFENSE

Missed tackles and poor coverage doomed the Broncos against BYU. The Cougars had 568 yards of total offense, including 376 in the first half, when they scored 24 points. Boise State’s defense played better after the intermission — similar to what happened the week before against Nevada — but it was too little, too late against quarterback Taysom Hill, who completed 21-of-28 passes for 253 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for a touchdown in the first half. Cornerbacks Donte Deayon and Bryan Douglas were beaten over the top. Everyone on defense, it seemed, missed at least one tackle. Safety Dillon Lukehart, filling in for injured starter Jeremy Ioane, was ejected in the second half for targeting. He will miss the first half of this week’s game at Colorado State. The Broncos failed to force a turnover and didn’t really come close, an indication of how open BYU’s receivers were most of the evening. Grade: D

SPECIAL TEAMS

Freshman Sean Wale had a 62-yard punt in the first quarter to flip field position, and kicker Dan Goodale continued his solid season by making two field goals. Kick returner Derrick Thomas made a bad choice to bring a kickoff out, but responded with a 39-yard return later in the game. Williams-Rhodes had a 40-yard punt return. Grade: B

COACHING

Chris Petersen, coaching his 100th game with the Broncos, suffered his second-worst (by margin of defeat) loss. Only the 32-point loss to Washington in the season opener was worse. The 24-3 halftime deficit was the largest of the Petersen era. He expressed concern about the Broncos’ offense after the game, saying the team needs to do more to cater to Hedrick’s skill set and take chances downfield. It will be interesting to see how the Broncos can adapt to Hedrick’s running ability at a time when they have very little quarterback depth. Grade: C-

IN THE POLLS

Fresno State, which defeated San Diego State in overtime to remain undefeated, moved up to No. 16 in the BCS Standings released Sunday. The Bulldogs are one spot ahead of Northern Illinois. Fresno State is ahead of No. 23 Central Florida, the current leader in the American Athletic Conference (former Big East), which is an automatic-qualifying conference.

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