Ravell Call, Deseret News
Brigham Young Cougars head coach Bronco Mendenhall smiles with an official during the third period as Brigham Young University faces Idaho State in NCAA football in Provo, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011.

PROVO — BYU's 56-3 runaway victory over Idaho State on Saturday left an imprint in the annals of Cougar football history and transmitted positive vibes throughout every inch of the team's locker room.

The 53-point margin of victory is the second biggest since Bronco Mendenhall assumed head coaching duties in 2005; only when BYU beat UCLA 59-0 in 2008 did the Cougars clobber an opponent in a more one-sided fashion.

Because BYU led 35-3 heading into halftime, Mendenhall and offensive coordinator Brandon Doman knew two things about how the second half would unfold: Backups like sophomore quarterback Jake Heaps would see extensive playing time, and the Cougars would do their best to not run up the score on the overmatched Bengals.

"In the third and fourth quarters, it was a great chance to give a lot of younger players a chance to play," Mendenhall said. "I think they handled their assignments pretty well. Certainly the scoring potential wasn't the same as it was early on, but there should be a little drop-off when the younger players go in."

After entering the game with 6:57 left in the third quarter, Heaps led four drives that ended in an interception, punt, touchdown and fumble. The former starter finished 8-of-10 for 67 yards and an interception. Heaps connected with six different receivers, including a 20-yard completion to McKay Jacobson midway through the fourth quarter.

"I was glad that we had an opportunity to give (Heaps) some playing time," Mendenhall said. "As always, he throws the ball very well and he's aggressive with the football. He had a chance to lead our team, and it was fun to see him smiling — that's a good thing."

In addition to Heaps, Josh Quezada also figured prominently into BYU's second-half offense in the second half. The sophomore running back tallied 11 carries for 59 yards and a touchdown — all of it coming after halftime.

Although Heaps and Quezada had already played extensively this year prior to Saturday, several lesser-known Cougars saw their first significant game action of the season.

"To have more smiles from scout players, and have those players actually get to play in a game in LaVell Edwards Stadium, was great," Mendenhall said. "That was maybe the happiest I've seen our locker room in a long time — not just from pockets of players, but collectively. It made me feel good to see those guys who work so hard in the shadows get a chance."

Broncos' best wins

Opponent Year Score Margin

UCLA 2008 59-0 59

Idaho State 2011 56-3 53

Wyoming 2009 52-0 52

Tulane 2009 54-3 51

Wyoming 2006 55-7 48

UNLV 2010 55-7 48

email: jaskar@desnews.com