FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) -- Going over the middle, working the
sidelines, turning short catches into long gains, David Anderson
seemed to do it all for Colorado State. Everything, that is, except
Brigham Young used a well-rounded approach Saturday night,
getting 238 yards passing from John Beck and two touchdown runs
from Curtis Brown to defeat CSU 31-21 despite Anderson's
career-high 232 yards receiving.
"I couldn't find him," BYU safety Jon Burbidge said. "We had
him covered and he'd make a move and get open. We had to put
another guy on him and he still got open."
Luckily for Burbidge and the BYU defense, the Cougars got enough
good performances on the other side of the ball to overcome it.
Brown ran for 93 yards, Naufahu Tahi ran for 98 more and the
Cougars (2-3) piled up 445 yards of offense -- a good way to set
aside a forgettable showing over their first four nonconference
games and win the Mountain West Conference opener for both teams.
"I'm very encouraged about where we are, and I still think we
can get better," Cougars coach Gary Crowton said.
Anderson, meanwhile, will have trouble topping this.
He got open consistently en route to a career-high 12
receptions. The 232 yards was the second-best receiving game in CSU
history, behind only Greg Primus' 251 yards in 1991 against Hawaii.
Yet, the accomplishment felt empty, as the Rams fell to 1-4 for the
first time since 1993 -- coach Sonny Lubick's first year.
"I've had big games before," Anderson said. "I played a good
game against Colorado and we lost. I had a good game against USC
and we lost. I played a good game against Minnesota and we lost."
Justin Holland threw for 359 yards for the Rams, also a career
high for the first-year starter. He connected with Anderson on a
screen pass, and Anderson used a great block from lineman Mike
Brisiel to gain 40 yards and set up a touchdown that gave CSU a
21-17 lead early in the fourth quarter.
BYU needed only two plays to answer, though, covering 58 yards
and capping it when Beck threw a gorgeous pass, hitting Austin
Collie in stride in the back of the end zone for a 40-yard TD.
After BYU held, the Cougars got the ball back and drove to the
CSU 2. They failed to convert a fourth-and-inches, but got the ball
back on downs and, on the next play, took the 10-point lead when
Tahi walked in from the 3 with 2:25 left.
While CSU had one guy taking care of most of the offense, BYU
spread it around. Six players caught at least three passes. Tahi
and Brown each averaged more than 6 yards a carry.
Beck's 24-for-42 performance didn't set any records at BYU, but
it was efficient, especially late, when the Cougars converted five
straight third downs to take the lead for good.
"This was a maturity builder for me," said Beck, a sophomore,
who struggled during BYU's 4-8 season in 2003. "I didn't have many
of these last year."
Anderson, whose previous career high was 199 yards last season,
was nearly impossible to stop for the first three quarters. The
junior from Westlake Village, Calif., made five plays of 30 or more
yards and surpassed the 2,000-yard mark for his career.
BYU did clamp down on him toward the end, and it was telling
that the last two passes thrown his way were a completion for a
1-yard loss and an incompletion on fourth-and-9 from the CSU 3
during the Rams' desperation drive.
"I should have made the play on the fourth down," Anderson
said. "I'll think about that during the bye week."
The Rams have a week off before they resume their MWC schedule
at San Diego State.
Meanwhile, BYU is not the same program it used to be, but for a
week, at least, the Cougars can feel good. Despite their overall
losing record, they trail only No. 14 Utah (2-0) in this, the very
early stages of the MWC season.