BYU freshman quarterback Tanner Mangum grew up a fan of two college football teams. On Saturday, he will be in uniform for one of those, and playing against the other.
Mangum, a 2012 Eagle High graduate, will get his first start in a perfect twist of fate against Boise State, a team he grew up admiring alongside his Cougars.
"It definitely is pretty special, because I love Boise State so much, I grew up going to all the games, I have some former teammates and friends on the team," Mangum said. "It'll be fun to have the hometown team here in Provo, my first career start."
Mangum committed to BYU the spring before his senior year, turning down Arkansas and Boise State, among others. He took part in the Cougars' spring practices in 2013 before taking his mission to Chile. Boise State was then coached by Chris Petersen, but current Bronco coach Bryan Harsin knew of Mangum since he was a freshman at Timberline High, and pursued him when he was at Texas.
"When it came down to it, I narrowed it down to Boise State and BYU ... it definitely wasn't easy to say no to coach Pete and those guys there. In the end, I had to make that decision, and I haven't regretted it," Mangum said. "I still respect Boise State so much, I'm glad to see them doing well."
Already, Mangum has become a hero of sorts to Cougar fans after stepping in for the injured Taysom Hill and leading BYU to a win at Nebraska, capped off with a 42-yard Hail Mary as time expired. One name for the play that has caught on was “Mangum’s Miracle At Memorial,” he said.
“I have never practiced that play before with the guys — Taysom had done it once with the 1s," Mangum said. "... I wasn't too worried, I just had to get the ball up there, get it to the end zone so someone could go make a play."
We will have much more on Mangum in Saturday's paper. Check out the audio from his media teleconference here.