STANFORD, Calif. (AP) -- Beating Brigham Young was no problem for
Stanford, since the Cougars seemed so determined to beat
Trent Edwards passed for a career-high 297 yards and three
touchdowns, and T.J. Rushing returned a kickoff 99 yards for a
score in Stanford's 37-10 victory over BYU on Saturday night.
The Cardinal fell behind 10-0 before flattening the
mistake-prone, disorganized Cougars (1-1), who committed seven
turnovers and had 14 penalties for 125 yards.
Given BYU's ineptitude in nearly every phase of the game,
Edwards and his teammates weren't getting terribly excited about
their second straight win. The Cardinal have outscored their
opponents 80-13 this season -- but those opponents were BYU and
lowly San Jose State.
"It was definitely a confidence-builder, but we still missed a
couple of opportunities," Edwards said. "It's definitely a good
way to start: 2-0 with a couple of good offensive games. ... We
knew they were poor tacklers, and we knew that if we make them miss
once, we could extend the field."
Alex Smith, Justin McCullum and Evan Moore caught scoring passes
from Edwards, who was 20-of-41 to dominate his aerial duel with
Jason Beck, BYU's third-string quarterback.
Though injuries to Matt Berry and John Beck didn't help, none of
the Cougars seemed particularly ready to play for embattled coach
Gary Crowton, who dropped to 9-18 since his first BYU squad won its
first 12 games.
"When things don't go very well, you just have to talk about
composure and address the issues and hope guys respond to that,"
Crowton said. "We got out of our rhythm and started throwing too
much, and they started coming after us."
Stanford took the lead for good on Smith's 2-yard TD catch early
in the second quarter. McCullum caught a 21-yard scoring pass in
the third, and the 6-foot-7 Moore outjumped his defender to snare a
25-yard TD throw early in the fourth.
Michael Sgroi kicked three field goals for Stanford, which also
started 2-0 last season with wins over San Jose State and BYU -- but
went 2-7 the rest of the way.
"We were at the same point last year, so we know we can't make
too much of it," Smith said. "I started to think about playing
USC (on Sept. 25) before the game was over. We have two weeks to
prepare, and that's the one we want."
With John Beck and Matt Berry sidelined by injuries, Jason Beck
was 23-of-46 for 232 yards and three interceptions. But the
Cougars, who upset Notre Dame last week, were doomed by penalties,
turnovers and uninspired defensive play.
The Cougars lost three fumbles -- two in the first half -- and
Jason Beck threw all three of his interceptions in the second half.
Fourth-stringer Jackson Brown also got picked off in the final
BYU took its early lead on Fahu Tahi's 3-yard TD run and Matt
Payne's 40-yard field goal -- but Rushing, a cornerback and a
sprinter on Stanford's track team, roared nearly untouched through
the Cougars' coverage on the ensuing kickoff.
It was the third-longest kickoff return for a touchdown in
school history, and Stanford's first TD return since 1996.
Later in the second quarter, the Cardinal's first scoring drive
featured a 76-yard completion to Mark Bradford, who made an
impressive broken-field run from one sideline to the other.
Bradford and Moore also play for the Stanford basketball team.
"I would say it was just a lot of missed tackles and good
blocking," Bradford said. "In high school, I did this all the
time, but I was really surprised they missed tackles tonight."
BYU's tumultuous week got even worse with its second straight
loss to Stanford. On Wednesday, the school abruptly fired athletic
director Val Hale, Crowton's former high school football teammate.
Berry started for the Cougars in place of John Beck, who hurt
his shoulder in their season-opening win over Notre Dame. But Berry
cut his hand during the Cougars' second drive and went to the
Jason Beck -- no relation to John Beck -- had intermittent success
in BYU's pass-heavy game plan, but John Beck and Brown relieved him
in the fourth quarter.
The large BYU fan contingent at Stanford Stadium booed the
Stanford band at halftime when the rambunctious group poked fun at
polygamy with five dancers wearing wedding veils.