3:00 PM ET, September 23, 2006
LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, UT
PROVO, Utah (AP) -- Despite passing for 305 yards and a touchdown in his first start, Jason Beck knows he's returning to the Brigham Young sideline.
John Beck, out with a sprained ankle, is still the Cougars' starter, although Jason showed how well he can run the offense in a 38-0 win over Utah State on Saturday.
"I feel confident if anything happens to John that I can play well. I feel I've played that way for quite a while," said Jason Beck, no relation to his teammate. "I know that's my job. I knew that coming into it -- that it's John's job."
Jason Beck completed 20 of 28 passes with one interception and threw his first career touchdown pass as the Cougars (2-2) gained 441 yards and got their first shutout since beating UNLV 29-0 in 1999.
Utah State (0-4) was shut out for the third straight game and has yet to score a point on offense. Facing a new starter who hadn't completed a pass in two years didn't help the Aggies.
Other than holding for kicks and playing late in a rout over Tulsa two weeks ago, Jason Beck was playing in his first game since he was called on for emergency duty two years ago against Stanford.
He felt much more comfortable this time.
"I've got an easy job. We've got a lot of good guys around me making plays," Beck said.
The Cougars completed their non-conference schedule at .500 and open the Mountain West season at defending champion TCU on Thursday. After resting his ankle through practice all last week, BYU hopes to have John Beck back for the Horned Frogs.
But if Jason Beck is called again, he showed what he can do.
"There was a lot of poise and maturity in Jason," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said.
Utah State's Marcus Cross ran for 127 yards -- more than half the team's 242 yards of offense. Leon Jackson was 14-for-24 for 90 yards with one interception, which Justin Robinson returned 64 yards for a touchdown.
The Aggies' frustration showed near the end. On one play early in the fourth quarter there was pushing and shoving at the Utah State bench after Vakapuna was knocked out of bounds. There were no punches thrown before the coaches broke it up, and Vakapuna got the only penalty.
The Aggies had little left at that point, and the Cougars were able to keep the shutout intact. Despite the big lead, Beck was still throwing the ball late in the fourth quarter and added an 18-yard touchdown pass to Jonny Harline with 2:16 left.
After gaining just 15 yards in the third quarter, Beck said the late passes were intended to get the Cougars back on track with less than a week to prepare for TCU.
"There was no attempt to run up the score or anything," he said.
After Beck's first pass was tipped and nearly intercepted, his next two were on target as the Cougars drove 89 yards in the opening drive, which Vakapuna capped with a 6-yard run. Vakapuna also opened the drive by running 16 yards on the first play of the game.
Vakapuna scored later in the half on runs of 11 and 8 yards and BYU led 24-0 at halftime.
BYU was a yard away from another touchdown, but Utah State stopped Curtis Brown on fourth-and-goal just before halftime.
"I thought we came out and played a little better on the defensive side in the second half. Wish we could have started off like that in the first half," Utah State defensive lineman Kerry Shepherd said.
After the goal-line stand, the Aggies had a few chances to get back into the game in the third quarter but self-destructed -- again.
"We keep getting the same result, but in different ways," Utah State coach Brent Guy said.
Justin Hamblin attempted a 33-yard field goal, but Russell Tialavea swatted it back at the kicker. Utah State later tried another field goal, but Ryan Wilson's snap went over the holder's head.
Wilson had been called for a personal foul on the same drive after the Aggies had reached the BYU 12.
After the blocked kick, Utah State got the ball back at the BYU 45 on an interception. But on third down, Jackson threw a soft pass toward the sideline and Robinson intercepted it for a touchdown that put BYU ahead 31-0.
Jackson has thrown four interceptions this season and all have been returned for touchdowns.