Year 1 as an independent has been a bit clunkier than maybe the Cougars envisioned. With a new offensive coordinator and nearly every starter returning, it was easy to believe the Cougars would return to their days of old and put up points left and right. But the offense has struggled in many of the same ways it struggled last season. Jake Heaps never looked comfortable running the new offense, and was pulled during the Utah State game. Riley Nelson took over, keyed a comeback and has regained his starting job. None of the playmakers that were projected to emerge have done so. The leading receiver, Cody Hoffman, has 258 yards total. The running game also has struggled, as the Cougars rank No. 98 in the nation. In all, BYU is No. 101 in the country in scoring offense and has failed to score over 30 points this season. The low point game in Week 3 against in-state rival Utah. BYU lost 54-10 and turned the ball over seven times -- three of them by Heaps. Has the problem been Brandon Doman calling the plays? Heaps not getting the job done? The offensive line struggling? The defense has played well for the most part. In fact, if it were not for the defense, BYU would have lost to Ole Miss to start the season. If it were not for special teams, the Cougars may have very well lost to UCF, too. So many questions remain as the Cougars hit the second half of the season with some tough games remaining. This may not have been the start fans wanted to see, but BYU is still trying to feel its way in this brand new world.
Offensive MVP: QB Riley Nelson. I am going all unconventional here and going with a player who has gotten into one and a half games. Why? Because he has more touchdowns (five) than anybody else on the team and provided a spark to a pretty poor offense. Name me somebody else who has played well on offense this season. Didn't think so.
Defensive MVP: LB Kyle Van Noy. Van Noy has been everywhere for the Cougars, ranking second on the team with 28 tackles. He also has a sack, two interceptions, two quarterback hurries and that all important fumble recovery in the end zone to give BYU a 14-13 win over Ole Miss.