PROVO No disputed penalty. No last-second play to save the game. And no doubts that BYU is making a run at the BCS.
The Cougars made a big impression Saturday by stomping UCLA 59-0, making it clear that they want a chance to become the latest team from a non-BCS conference to bust their way in to the Bowl Championship Series without a guaranteed berth.
"If you're a D-I program and you're not trying to get to the BCS, what are you doing?" said Max Hall, who tied a school record with seven touchdown passes. "If you're not setting your goals to try to get to (be) one of the best programs in the country, something's not right."
The Cougars (3-0) extended the nation's longest winning streak to 13 games by overwhelming a team that beat them 27-17 last September and almost did it again in the rematch at the Las Vegas Bowl. A blocked field goal attempt as time expired saved the Cougars in the 17-16 win in Vegas.
BYU blocked another kick against the Bruins on Saturday, but this time all that was at stake was preserving the shutout. UCLA (1-1) hadn't been dominated like this since 1929, when the Bruins opened the season with a 76-0 loss to Southern California.
"The important thing for us is to just let it go," UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said.
The Cougars hoped Saturday's game restored their reputation after the controversial ending a week before in a 28-27 win at Washington.
BYU moved up four spots Sunday to No. 14 in the AP poll and remained among the non-BCS schools looking for a spot in one of the four big bowls when the season ends. The Cougars still have to play two of the other hopefuls in No. 20 Utah, which almost matched BYU's scoring outburst in a 58-10 win at Utah State on Saturday night, and TCU, which is also 3-0 after a 31-14 win over Stanford.
BYU visits TCU on Oct. 16 and closes the regular season at Utah, off to its best start since the Utes were the first "BCS Buster" in 2004.
The Cougars had dropped from 15th to 18th last week after edging Washington by blocking an extra point kick after a tying touchdown with 2 seconds remaining. The celebration penalty called on the Huskies after they scored outraged fans across the country and left the Cougars answering questions all week about a call that was out of their hands.
Defensive end Jan Jorgensen, who blocked the extra point at Washington, said the Cougars wanted to play well enough against UCLA to erase doubts anyone might have.
BYU held UCLA to just 9 rushing yards and 239 yards overall while gaining 521 with the reserves playing most of the third quarter and all of the fourth.
"We're a good team. If there's anybody that questions that, hopefully we proved that today," said Jorgensen, who caused one of UCLA's costly fumbles during BYU's 35-point second quarter.
It was one of two fumbles the defense caused early in the second quarter that led to quick touchdowns for BYU. After the second TD, the Cougars pounced right away on the kickoff with another turnover and yet another score on a pass by Hall. After taking a 14-0 lead on an 80-yard drive that ended 30 seconds into the second quarter, BYU was up 35-0 less than 5 minutes later.
It was 42-0 at halftime and 49-0 after Hall's 6-yard touchdown pass to Harvey Unga with 7:43 left in the third quarter. That was the end of the day for Hall, who could have broken the school record with an eighth touchdown, but BYU's coaches decided not to risk injuring their star quarterback.
Hall finished 27-for-35 for 271 yards with one interception. He's the first BYU quarterback to throw for seven touchdowns since Jim McMahon did it against Colorado State in 1981.
"Max did an unbelievable job," said tight end Dennis Pitta, who caught two of Hall's touchdowns Saturday. "Seven TD passes. That's unreal."