With a No. 19 national ranking, a potent passing attack and one of the country's top young quarterbacks, Brigham Young doesn't need any assistance from its opponents.
On Saturday, Colorado State offered plenty.
Colorado State suffered a season's worth of special-teams breakdowns that it ultimately wasn't able to overcome, and a grateful BYU team emerged with a 27-22 victory.
"Our special teams made some of the biggest plays," BYU coach LaVell Edwards said. "Those are plays you can't count on."
The Rams fumbled away the opening kickoff, kicked two short punts that were converted into BYU scores, had two field goals and one punt blocked and missed an extra point.
"The one thing that is killing us is our kicking game," said Colorado State Coach Sonny Lubick. "That's obvious. If we make a field goal, a kick here or there, an extra point--everything is a little bit different."
Jamal Willis, who missed last week's game with an ankle injury, ran for two touchdowns and caught a key third-down pass in the closing minutes to lead the Cougars.
Sophomore John Walsh completed 29 of 45 passes for 332 yards as BYU went to 3-0 overall and 3-0 in the Western Athletic Conference. Colorado State (1-2, 1-1) spotted BYU a 17-0 first-quarter lead and couldn't recover.
Willis' second touchdown, a two-yard run with 3:26 left in the third quarter, gave the Cougars a 24-16 lead, but Colorado State refused to quit. The Rams promptly drove to the BYU 17-yard line, where they had a field goal blocked, then put together a 79-yard scoring drive, but failed on the two-point conversion to draw within 24-22 with 10:48 remaining.
BYU countered with a 61-yard scoring march, including Walsh's 22-yard pass to a diving Bryce Doman, and Joe Herrick kicked a 20-yard field goal with 6:51 remaining to account for the final margin.
The Cougars kept possession with just under two minutes left when, on third-and-eight from the BYU 36, Walsh scrambled and connected with Willis down the right sideline for a 36-yard gain.
The Cougars scored on their first three possessions, needing to march only 27, 36 and 50 yards for those scores.
Colorado State's Renard Carn fumbled the opening kickoff when hit by T.D. Biegel, and BYU's Gregory Steele recovered at the Rams' 27. Four plays later, Willis ran two yards for a 7-0 lead with 13:32 left in the period.
A minute later, Mike McGee's shanked punt traveled only 29 yards, giving BYU possession at the Rams 49. Aided by an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty against the Rams' Brian Schneider, who was celebrating a third-down stop, the Cougars got a 30-yard field goal from Herrick.
McGee had another short punt moments later, and the Cougars made it 17-0 with 4:28 left. Walsh's 24-yard pass to Doman set up Kalin Hall's one-yard touchdown run.
The game was played in intermittent rain in the first half.
Trevor Yankoff connected with Erik Cima on a 44-yard touchdown pass play in the fourth quarter and the Brown (1-0) defense forced five turnovers and a safety as the Bears beat Yale (0-1), 12-3, at New Haven, Conn. . . . Terrance Stokes ran for 124 yards in 26 carries, including a 19-yard touchdown, as Penn (1-0) beat Dartmouth (0-1), 10-6, at Philadelphia. . . . Nick Isaacson ran for 124 yards as Harvard (1-0) defeated Columbia (0-1), 30-3, at Boston. The loss prevented the Lions, which won its last two games of 1992, from accomplishing a three-game winning streak for the first time since 1971-72. . . . Keith Elias rushed for 188 yards and scored on a 72-yard run and a 67-yard pass play to lead defending Ivy League co-champion Princeton (1-0) to an 18-12 victory over Cornell (0-1) at Princeton, N.J.
Mike McCoy's two touchdown passes to Henry Lusk helped Utah (2-1) grab a 21-0 first-quarter lead and the underdog Utes cruised past mistake-prone Kansas (1-3), 41-16, at Lawrence, Kan. The Jayhawks, coming off a 31-14 loss against Michigan State, had a blocked punt, a fumbled punt and three passes batted down in the lopsided first period. . . . Jay McDonagh completed an eight-yard touchdown pass and scrambled for a score as Western Michigan (1-2) defeated Akron (2-1), 20-3, at Kalamazoo, Mich. . . . Ball State (2-1) scored the final 17 points to defeat Ohio University (0-3), 24-16, at Athens, Ohio.
Spence Fischer had his second straight 300-yard passing performance and Brad Breedlove added a 44-yard punt return in the fourth quarter to help Duke (1-2) end an eight-game losing streak with a 42-21 victory over Army (1-1) at Durham, N.C.
Chris Vargas passed for 413 yards and two touchdowns as Nevada (2-1) rolled to a 63-14 victory over Texas Southern (1-2) at Reno. Bryan Reeves, the leading receiver in the country, caught 10 passes for 150 yards and became Nevada's career leader with 176 receptions. . . . Cal Lutheran (2-0) scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including a 46-yard touchdown pass from Adam Hacker to Pete Marine, to rally for a 14-3 victory over Whittier (0-2) at Cal Lutheran. . . . Ryan Campozano threw touchdown passes of 24, 43 and 32 yards to lead La Verne (1-1) to a 46-10 victory over visiting Claremont-Mudd (0-2). Danny Pasquil rushed for 159 yards in 23 carries and two touchdowns for La Verne.