PROVO, Utah — Oregon State believed in quarterback Cody Vaz.
The Beavers were probably alone in that belief prior to OSU's 42-24 victory Saturday afternoon at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
There were questions about how the junior would perform after starter Sean Mannion went down with a knee injury at Washington State, but Vaz answered them all in a 20-of-32 performance for 332 yards and three touchdowns.
Vaz, the first player other than Mannion to take a snap at quarterback in 14 games, hadn't thrown a pass in competition since 2010 during a mop up role against Stanford. He was also going against a defense that had allowed just four touchdowns, and only two from drives of more than 39 yards.
Instead, Vaz, helped along by blocking plans that allowed more time to sit in the pocket and pick out receivers, picked BYU's supposedly vaunted defense apart.
"Oregon State's ability to throw it over the top of us, big plays, I thought was the difference in the game," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "It was our inability to defend ... downfield throws with Oregon State's receivers' ability to keep making the critical plays."
Vaz drove the No. 10 Beavers on five scoring drives, the shortest being a two-play, 67-yard explosion that gave the Beavers a 14-7 lead late in the first quarter.
The 43-yard pass to Brandin Cooks to begin the short drive was the longest of Vaz's career.
"We have so many playmakers and I just have to get the ball into their hands," Vaz said. "I knew I was capable of playing that way and I knew I had to come out and calm this place down, because it was a little rowdy. But this was a team effort."
WHEATON STREAK: Oregon State receiver Markus Wheaton set a career high with his fifth touchdown catch of the season during the Beavers' opening drive.
Wheaton, who had two touchdown catches in the opening quarter, also scored on a fourth-quarter reverse, thanks to a key block by Vaz, to close out OSU's offensive production. (The Beavers' final touchdown came from a pick-six by cornerback Jordan Poyer with less than five minutes to play.)
Wheaton's five total receptions extended his streak of catching passes to 28 games, which ranks third in the Pac-12 Conference.
Cooks and Wheaton combined for 239 receiving yards. It was Wheaton's second career multi-touchdown game, the first coming earlier this season at Arizona.
"I knew we couldn't play BYU just slugging it out," Riley said. "We had to throw the ball down the field against this team. You can't just plan on throwing the same plays at BYU's front line."
DEFENSIVE HIGHS AND FIRSTS: Poyer's fourth-quarter interception was the 11th of his career, moving him into a tie for 10th all-time in Oregon State history.
OSU safety Ryan Murphy had five solo tackles and a career-high 11 overall, while defensive end Scott Crichton compiled at least two sacks for the second consecutive game and the third time this season.
Freshman receiver Richard Mullaney caught his first pass for the Beavers, coming in the fourth quarter.
Also, sophomore tailback Malcolm Agnew matched a career-high with a 30-yard run in the fourth quarter.