Thud: Air Raid crash lands in debut

THE WSU COUGARS arrived in Provo as 11 1/2-point underdogs. They left after doubling the margin of loss as the BYU Cougars trampled them 30-6 in a season opening pratfall televised nationally on ESPN.

It wasn't exactly the coming-out party Mike Leach was hoping for as his Air Raid offense faltered under an unsteady performance by quarterback Jeff Tuel, who threw two interceptions, including one to open the second half.

While it's too early to make projections, the Cougars (0-1) will have to pull things together quickly to make it to the postseason for the first time since 2003.

BYU (1-0) quarterback Riley Nelson completed 25 of 36 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns. Tuel, by comparison, completed 30 of 45 passes for 228 yards and two interceptions. WSU's only points came from a pair of first-half field goals by Andrew Furney.

Play of the game: Taysom Hill's 18-yard touchdown pass to Kaneakua Friel to make it 14-0 early in the second quarter.

Key moment: Tuel was guiding the Cougars downfield when he threw an interception in the first quarter. BYU scored on the ensuing drive.

Key stat: WSU finished the game with minus-four rushing yards.


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