Patrick Semansky, Associated Press
NEW ORLEANS — One week after playing national power Oklahoma on national television, in the national spotlight, in front of 75,000 fans at palatial Cowboys Stadium, and winning one of the biggest games in school history, No. 9 BYU traveled to play lowly Tulane at the relatively quiet, and empty, Louisiana Superdome.
Letdown? What letdown?
The Cougars earned a big, easy win in a city also known as The Big Easy, throttling the Green Wave, 54-3, in front of a crowd of 22,224 Saturday.
BYU (2-0) knew it would be important to turn in a strong effort after last week's emotional, 14-13 victory over the Sooners.
"Last week it was a huge win for us. I think sometimes it's easy to kind of let your guard down and relax a little bit," said wide receiver McKay Jacobson, who caught a 38-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter. "But we came out ready to play. We came out knowing what we had to do and we did it."
"We prepared the same way this week as we did last week," said defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen. "There was no difference. The coaches were the exact same, the players were the exact same. Everything was the same."
Except that instead of a nail-biter, like a week ago, it became a laugher in the second half.
BYU exploded for 51 of its points in the final three quarters. The offense rolled up 527 yards of total offense and the defense forced four turnovers and limited Tulane to 162 yards.
"It was a very well-played football game," said coach Bronco Mendenhall. "It was clean, for the most part, on both sides of the ball."
While the Cougar offense didn't punt once on the day and scored nearly every time it had the ball, it couldn't get into the end zone on its first two possessions.
"We had to settle for field goals on the first two drives, which was a little frustrating, but I think we just kept fighting and kept moving the ball," said quarterback Max Hall, who completed 24 of 32 passes for 309 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
While running back Harvey Unga played for the first time this season, he carried the ball only three times. Still, the Cougars rushed for 206 yards as J.J. DiLuigi led the way with 71 yards and two touchdowns while Bryan Kariya gained 63 yards and a TD.
Hall spread the ball around the field, completing passes to nine different receivers, and in all, 12 Cougars caught balls.
"If I can do that, to where around eight different receivers catch the ball in a game, it makes us very hard to defend," Hall said. "It makes it to where we have so many different options that if they do key on (tight end) Dennis (Pitta), which they did a couple of times, I have other options. Things opened up big-time for some of those other guys."
Yet it was the defense that opened the floodgates for the offense.
Tulane's only drive deep into BYU territory, in the second quarter, took more than eight minutes off the clock. But it yielded only a field goal.
"When we were able to keep them out of the end zone," Jorgensen said, "it kind of swung (the momentum) back in our favor."
BYU led 13-3 late in the second quarter when linebacker Jordan Pendleton tipped a Joe Kemp pass that was intercepted by cornerback Brian Logan. Seven plays later, Kariya scored on a 12-yard touchdown pass to put the Cougars up, 20-3, at intermission.
After a Hall interception to start the second half, the defense forced the Green Wave to punt, and the Cougars then scored on three straight possessions to make it 47-3.
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