One can guess that BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum lives by the mantra “On a wing and a prayer”.
The Eagle High graduate, making his first start and one week removed from his Hail Mary touchdown pass to lead the Cougars over Nebraska, reached into his bag of tricks multiple times in leading BYU to a 35-24 victory over Boise State Saturday night in Provo.
Facing a 4th down and 7 with just under a minute to play, Mangum was flushed from the pocket and found Mitchell Juergens for 35-yard touchdown pass with 45 seconds remaining to give the Cougars the lead, their first lead since the first quarter.
Two plays earlier, the Cougars had been pushed from field goal range when Chanceller James sacked Mangum. Mangum would throw an incomplete pass on third down, setting up the come-from-behind win for the second week in a row.
Mangum finished 17-28 for 309 yards with 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. 189 of those yards were accumulated on a total of 3 completions.
Boise State held a 24-14 lead entering the 4th quarter. A BYU punt was downed by Mitch Matthews at the Boise State two-yard line. After a running play that went for no gain, Boise State quarterback Ryan Finley was intercepted for the second time on the game.
After a nice return, the Cougars only had to go 12 yards to pull within three, 24-21, on a Magnum quarterback sneak.
With three timeouts and 45 seconds left, the Broncos still had a chance after the Juergens touchdown. On their first play from scrimmage, Finley threw his third interception of the night. Kai Nacua, collector of all three of Finley’s picks, returned this one for a touchdown, ultimately ending any hope of a comeback for the Broncos.
Finley was 25-38 on the game, throwing for 297 yards and one touchdown.
Mangum showed off his arm early. Facing a third down and 19, Mangum heaved a pass to wide open Juergens for an 84-yard touchdown pass, giving BYU a 7-0 lead less than a minute into the game.
After the Broncos were forced to punt after on first series, the Cougars began to move the ball once again. Donte Deayon ended that threat an interception.
The Broncos couldn’t capitalize and both teams exchanged punts before Boise State finally got on the board. The Broncos put together a 7 play, 52-yard drive, capped off with a 3-yard run by Jeremy McNichols.
The defenses took over the remainder of the half. Finley did find Chaz Anderson for a 43-yard reception but the very next play Finley threw his first pick when he tried to find Thomas Sperbeck in double coverage.
Deayon would return the favor, picking off Mangum for a second time. Once again, the Broncos did not capitalize on the mistake.
All told, the teams combined for ten punts in the first half.
The Broncos were able to put together a 9-play, 45-yard drive to end the half, using a 31-yard field goal by Tyler Rausa to take a 10-7 halftime lead.
Boise State came out poised to start the second half, marching the ball 75 yards and scoring on another McNichols three-yard run.
After a pair of punts, Mangum again unleashed his arm. Facing a second and long after a Tanner Vallejo sack, Devon Blackmon slipped behind the Boise State secondary for a 70-yard reception.
Jonathon Moxey was slapped with an unsportsmanlike penalty for taunting after the next play, leading to a 21-yard run by Adam Hine to bring the Cougars back within three, 17-14.
Boise State responded with Finley tossing a bubble screen to McNichols, who took it 29-yards to the end zone for his third score of the night, setting up the stage for the dramatic fourth quarter.
Five false start penalties hurt the Broncos, as did a third down conversation rate of 17%.
Neither team ran the ball well. Boise State had 31 carries for 64 yards while BYU had 39 for 72 yards.
McNichols had 15 carries for 46 yards and 5 receptions for 49 yards.
Shane Williams-Rhodes was utilized much more tonight for Boise State, providing a spark on offense and hauling in 11 receptions for 107 yards. Anderson added 3 catches for 66 yards.
Juergens finished with 4 receptions and 172 yards to go along with his 2 touchdowns for the Cougars.
The Broncos will look to regroup when they return to the blue turf to host the Idaho State Bengals. Kickoff is set for 7pm (MST) on Friday.