Hall has 5 TDs in BYU's 38-21 win over Air Force

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PROVO, Utah (AP) -- Max Hall had a full day: five touchdowns, a school record for wins and even a penalty for a tussle with a defensive player after an interception.

BYU's feisty quarterback solidified himself as one of the best the school has had, leading the 19th-ranked Cougars to a 38-21 win over Air Force on Saturday for Hall's 30th victory as the starter.

"I feel really grateful that I've played on really good teams and I've had some really good players around me," said Hall, who set the record in style by going 33 for 45 for 377 yards and a season-high five touchdowns. "It's special. I'll always remember my career here and everything I've done. That's one of the things that will stand out."

The victory put Hall ahead of 1990 Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer's 29 wins with two games to go. The Cougars (9-2, 6-1 Mountain West) host rival Utah next week, then will play in a bowl.

Hall also passed John Beck for No. 2 in career yards passing with 11,039, 18 more than Beck, his predecessor. He has no chance at catching Detmer's school record (15,031), but will settle for whatever else he can add to his accomplishments in the next two games.

"He has almost every single record you can have here," Hall said of Detmer. "To surpass him in one of them is pretty special."

Harvey Unga became BYU's all-time rushing leader with 67 yards, giving him 3,268 in his career and breaking Curtis Brown's school record of 3,221.

After barely holding off winless New Mexico the week before, the Cougars rebounded.

"They were really pulling for each other," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "Any good play was really being celebrated. There was a passion to play the game today that was evident to me."

The Falcons turned the ball over four times and BYU converted three of them into touchdowns while taking a big lead, then hanging on for the win. The only time the Cougars didn't capitalize on a turnover, they couldn't -- Andrew Rich's interception on Ben Cochran's pass at the end of the second quarter.

"They came out as a greased up, physical team and their execution was exceptional," Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said. "For us to win a game like this we have got to be at top-notch level."

The Falcons weren't even close to top-notch Saturday. After committing just seven turnovers in the first 11 games, the Falcons had two interceptions and lost two fumbles.

Cochran relieved starter Tim Jefferson in the first half and threw for 88 yards and his first career touchdown for Air Force (7-5, 5-3), which gained just 300 yards in its regular-season finale.

Jared Tew ran for 88 yards for the Falcons, who are hoping seven wins is enough for a bowl invitation.

Unga needed just 21 yards to surpass Brown's record, and he got that on a 4-yard run in the first half.

But at BYU, the biggest records are for throwing the ball -- and the day belonged to Hall. He had two interceptions, including one that cost him an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for a scrum at the whistle, but had his biggest game since throwing for five touchdowns last Nov. 1 against Colorado State.

Two of Hall's TD passes went to brother-in-law Dennis Pitta, who had nine catches for 111 yards.

"I think it's something that he certainly deserves. It's just awesome to be able to play with a guy like that," Pitta said. "He's been an unbelievable quarterback for us for three years now. I hope people recognize that."

The game plans were predictable. BYU was going to throw the ball and Air Force was going to concentrate on running it. The Cougars threw 15 passes in the first quarter to Air Force's two -- and when the Falcons tried pass No. 3, it was a wreck.

Rich intercepted it and ran it back 44 yards to set up Hall's 12-yard pass to Pitta that put BYU up 17-0. Hall and Pitta had just put BYU ahead 10-0 on an 8-yard touchdown pass about two minutes earlier.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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Doug Alden Sports Writer


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