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TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- First-year Tulsa football coach Todd Graham had called on his team all week to win a "statement game" showing the Golden Hurricane had reached another level.
A wild 55-47 victory over Brigham Young on Saturday night fit the bill.
Operating out of the no-huddle offense, senior quarterback Paul Smith threw for a career-high 454 yards and five touchdowns and Graham's opportunistic defense gave up 694 yards but came up with four second-half turnovers and five overall.
"That was a big, big win for us," Graham said. "Our coaches and our players deserve a lot of credit. Paul was unbelievable out there tonight, an unbelievable commander, just stepping up and making big throws. ... We expect an All-American performance out of him every game and boy we got one tonight."
Two teams with proud passing traditions put on a dazzling display of offensive fireworks. BYU quarterback Max Hall threw for a career-high 537 yards, the most ever allowed by Tulsa (2-0). He completed 34 of 57 passes and had four touchdowns, but also had two interceptions and a fumble.
"We knew we would have to score 30 or 40 points to win," Graham said. "You can never predict a result like this, but Gus (new offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn) thought we could score some points and be successful."
Smith completed 21 of 35 passes with five touchdowns and one interception. Marrior Brennan had three catches for 171 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown. All three of Charles Clay's receptions went for scores, while Trae Johnson had five catches for 95 yards including a 17-yard touchdown.
The teams combined for 1,289 yards -- 1,027 in the air -- in a game that lasted three hours and 57 minutes. Tulsa had 595 yards, 490 of those through the air.
Trailing by the final margin, Brigham Young (1-2) drove to a first down at the Tulsa 12 with just over two minutes to play. But consecutive false starts bumped the Cougars back to the 22 and Hall misfired on four consecutive passes from there.
After forcing a Tulsa punt, BYU had one final chance, but Hall's final completion was fumbled by Andrew George and recovered by Tulsa's Steve Craver, allowing the Golden Hurricane to run out the clock.
"On the offensive side, we executed at our highest level," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "As a defense, we are not a pressure team so we did not go after (Paul) Smith a lot but we had a defensive scheme and we did not execute it the way we wanted to. They ran some trick plays and had some quirks in their offensive scheme that we weren't necessarily completely ready for.
"Max played a good game and put us in position to win. He competed hard, but we put him in a tough situation having to match score with score. Overall I thought he did play well."
BYU led 34-28 after a wild first half, but a 49-yard interception return by Roy Roberts on BYU's first possession of the second half put Tulsa ahead to stay at 38-34. After Chris Chamberlain intercepted another Hall pass, Tarrion Adams dashed 10 yards for a score to give Tulsa a 45-34 advantage.
The Cougars cut the deficit on a 63-yard drive capped by a 6-yard run by Manase Tonga, and appeared to be driving for a go-ahead score when Hall had the ball knocked loose by Wilson Garrison and Tulsa's Terrel Nemons recovered. Smith then directed a 74-yard drive, capped by his fifth touchdown strike, this one 37 yards down the middle to Clay.
Smith's performance was the fifth-most productive ever by a Tulsa quarterback. He led Tulsa on five consecutive scoring drives in the first half. Hall was just as effective, throwing for 277 yards and three scores in the first half.
BYU had three receivers with more than 100 yards led by Michael Reed with 132, Austin Collie with 121 on four catches and Dennis Pitta with 113 on six receptions. Collie also had 245 yards in return yardage.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-09-16-07 0016MDT