LARAMIE, Wyo. — For those wondering how BYU would respond two weeks after suffering an embarrassing 38-7 loss to TCU, the No. 25 Cougars answered that question emphatically from the outset Saturday.

On a sunny, warm afternoon in Laramie, a well-rested and fired-up BYU team coming off a bye week silenced the brown-and-gold-clad fans at War Memorial Stadium and shellacked Wyoming, 52-0.

The Cougars (7-2, 4-1) seemingly unleashed two weeks of frustration on the hapless Cowboys (4-5, 2-3).

"The scoreboard kind of reflects the couple of weeks of practice that we had," said BYU safety Andrew Rich. "We worked hard, prepared like crazy and kind of had a sour taste in our mouth from the TCU game. We needed a victory like this. All across the board, the offense, the defense all played well. It was a good victory for us."

"I was impressed with the way our team prepared starting (during the bye)," said BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall. "Our coaches did an excellent job implementing the changes and things we needed to do to improve our program. I think our players responded well."

Running back J.J. DiLuigi, who scored a pair of touchdowns, said the Cougars were pumped up to play Wyoming.

"We got our swagger back on both sides of the ball," he said. "The defense was hitting hard, finally ?— getting back into it. The offense was able to do what we wanted to do. The last two weeks were able to heal up. It was an amazing game on both sides of the ball."

Quarterback Max Hall played one of his finest games as a Cougar and turned in one of the best performances, statistically, in BYU history. The senior completed 20 of 22 passes for 312 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in a little more than two quarters of play before giving way to sophomore backup Riley Nelson.

"My numbers were good, but I think that's because the guys around me played well. They made me look good," Hall said. "We had a week to fix the mistakes we were making. The energy was high, and everybody played with a passion like we did at the beginning of the season. It was a lot of fun. That's exactly what we needed to happen. I think it was kind of a defining moment for our offense."

"A lot of it had to do with preparation," Mendenhall said of Hall's outing. "He had an excellent plan, he had very clear reads and he was able to do exactly what he had practiced."

BYU didn't have to punt until early in the fourth quarter. By then, most of the fans populating the student section had left the stadium.

The Cougars capitalized on being familiar with the Cowboys' style of defense, according to Mendenhall.

"One of the things that aids us is Wyoming's defense is similar to our own," he said. "We have a lot of chances to practice against similar looks."

BYU rolled up 543 yards of offense and limited the Cowboys to 225.

In the first half, Hall completed 16 of 17 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns as the Cougars cruised to an insurmountable 31-0 lead at intermission.

BYU scored on all five of its possessions in the first half, including a 21-point outburst in the second quarter, and rolled up 358 yards of offense through two quarters.

Hall threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to DiLuigi on BYU's opening drive, and later connected on a 79-yard TD pass to McKay Jacobson, who was making his return to the lineup after being sidelined for four games with a hamstring injury. Running back Manase Tonga scored a pair of touchdowns on a two-yard catch and a six-yard run.

The Cougar defense, meanwhile, held Wyoming's offense to a mere 108 yards in the first half, and most of those yards came on the Cowboys' final drive of the second quarter. Wyoming drove to the BYU 7-yard line, only to be stopped as time expired at the end of the half.

"Everybody was very determined. We didn't want to let them get into the end zone," said defensive lineman Jan Jorgensen. "We didn't want to let the momentum swing back in their favor right before halftime."

Wyoming has scored only 10 points in its last three games, including a 10-0 loss to Air Force and a 22-10 setback at Utah a week ago.

Rich said the shutout "means a lot, especially on the road and our backs have kind of been against the wall coming off a loss to TCU."

"It was a big boost to our defense. It's our job to help the offense and get the ball back for them. They're such a powerful offense that as long as we can play tough and give them as many opportunities as possible, we have a good chance to win."

Mendenhall downplayed the impact of the loss to TCU on his team's play on Saturday.

"I don't think the response to TCU was the motivator. I think any time we lose a football game, it's not any fun and we expect more from ourselves," he said. "This team has high goals and a lot still to accomplish. To say one game is going to deter them — it might deter some of our critics, but it's not going to deter our team. They did everything they could to demonstrate that today without saying much, just quietly going about their business and playing really well."

"Maybe the score was a surprise, but how we played was really more the identity of the team than maybe the exception."

BYU visits New Mexico next Saturday.

e-mail: jeffc@desnews.com