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BYU vs SUU report card: Cougars show off talent in easy win

BYU became bowl eligible for the 12th consecutive year as the Cougars defeated Southern Utah 37-7.

With this game never really in doubt, BYU was able to rest several key starters, including RB Jamaal Williams and LB Butch Pau'u. And a few young players were able to show what they can do in an actual game.

Here's BYU's report card in their win over SUU:


Taysom Hill made some of the most impressive throws of the season in this game, including beautiful touchdown passes to Nick Kurtz and Colby Pearson. He also made some mistakes, including throwing a pick to Josh Thorton. Still, it was one of Hill's better days, finishing with 349 yards of total offense and three total touchdowns.

Plus, we got our first real look of Tanner Mangum this season. His first few series looked a bit shaky as it's been some time since he's attempted a pass in a game, but he seemed to settle in toward the end of the game, finishing 10 of 12 for 105 yards. He even had more rushing yards than Hill on the day with 42 yards on two carries.

And with Jamaal Williams out, a few lesser-known running backs got a chance to shine. KJ Hall showed off his speed as he led all rushers with 59 yards and a touchdown on the ground plus 68 yards on three receptions. Also, Brayden El-Bakri showed he can also sneak out the backfield and had 69 yards on four receptions.

.@BYUfootball FB Brayden El-Bakri had a career day vs. Southern Utah (@SUUFB), catching four passes for 69 yards

— Brandon Judd (@brandonljudd) November 13, 2016

Three turnovers will keep BYU out of a straight A, but still a good day for the Cougars against SUU.

Grade: A-


It's not every day that a defense can strip the ball twice on the same drive and yet give up a touchdown, but Eric Takenaka and Dayan Lake did just that. Oddly enough, SUU actually gained some extra yardage after Lake's forced fumble. That led to SUU's only score of the afternoon.

Other than that, the Cougar defense dominated the Thunderbirds. Takenaka added one more pick to BYU's impressive pile of interceptions this season. Tomasi Laulile had two sacks, Harvey Langi and Fred Warner combined on a second while Moses Kaumatule added one of his own. BYU held SUU to 165 yards of total offense.

The @BYUfootball defense had a strong day against Southern Utah (@SUUFB), holding the T-Birds to 165 total yards and 7 first downs

— Brandon Judd (@brandonljudd) November 13, 2016

Grade: A

Special Teams

BYU had a few hiccups on special teams. Two different kickers had a chance at a field goal longer than 40 yards and neither Rhett Almond nor Andrew Mikkelsen were able to connect. Almond did hit three field goals of 30 yards or less.

Corbin Kaufusi had the best special teams play of the afternoon with a field goal block. Jonny Linehan had a quiet day as he punted the ball once: A 48-yarder that was downed at the 3-yard line.

Video: @BYUfootball DE Corbin Kaufusi with his second blocked FG of the season, this one against Southern Utah

— Brandon Judd (@brandonljudd) November 13, 2016

Bit of a mixed day for special teams. BYU might not have attempted those long field goals against an opponent other than SUU this season. Still, not a bad day by any means.

Grade: B


A game like this is great for trying out a few new wrinkles and seeing what some folks down the depth chart can do, and the BYU coaching staff did just that. Now, Kalani Sitake and the rest of the Cougars' coaches will have plenty of film to break down on some up-and-coming players.

All-in-all, a solid day for the BYU coaching staff.

Grade: A


BYU was never in danger from SUU, and it was able to give plenty of backups a chance to shine. This is exactly what you want to see when playing a FCS opponent.

The Cougars were able to try a few new things and hopefully learned a bit more about themselves. And BYU officially locked up its invitation to the Poinsettia Bowl. A good day by any measure.

Grade: A

Lafe Peavler is a sports strategist for the Deseret News and Follow him on Twitter @LafePeavler.