BYU 35, BOISE STATE 24
PROVO, Utah — Call it Mangum Magic or Bronco Blunders.
Either would describe what happened Saturday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
BYU scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns off two Boise State interceptions and a Hail Mary-like throw to beat the No. 20 Broncos 35-24.
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“We didn’t finish,” Boise State senior wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes said. “We went out there and we shot ourselves in the foot. The game played out just like we played it — we didn’t finish.”
BYU freshman quarterback Tanner Mangum of Eagle High threw an 84-yard touchdown pass, a 70-yard pass and the go-ahead, 35-yard touchdown pass on scrambles. Each time, the Broncos lost track of a wide receiver and Mangum found him.
Mangum was 17-for-28 for 309 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions in his first college start. He beat Nebraska with a Hail Mary the previous week.
“I really liked the resiliency of Tanner Mangum,” BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “... I don't know where you go from (the Hail Mary), but I was really proud of him.”
The Broncos knew Mangum would be a threat in the scramble drill but couldn’t find a way to stop it.
“First, we can’t let him get out of the pocket,” said senior cornerback Donte Deayon, who grabbed two interceptions. “We’ve just got to play with better eyes and stay with our man when he gets out of the pocket.”
The Broncos had led by as many as 10 points despite squandering repeated opportunities to blow open the game in the first half. Quarterback Ryan Finley threw three interceptions, including two into double coverage, and the Broncos committed 11 penalties. BYU scored touchdowns on third-and-19, second-and-20 and fourth-and-7.
The Broncos (1-1) likely will fall out of the Top 25 and will need some help to get back into the race for a New Year’s Six bowl berth. They play Idaho State on Friday at Albertsons Stadium.
“You can tell a lot about a team by how they respond after a loss,” Williams-Rhodes said. “I’m hoping we go out there next week and have a good week of practice and come back and rebound off of this.”
Added Deayon: “We’re going to move forward from this and get better from this and learn and take constructive criticism and open our hearts up to getting better. ... We’ve just got to stay together and look ourselves in the mirror.”
— On the way the game ended: “Give credit to BYU. Those guys won. I think we’re a good football team. They won a good game tonight. They made plays. Tanner, he moves around and when he was able to throw the ball up they made plays in some of those situations.”
— On BYU’s go-ahead TD: “My thought was we had 40-some seconds left. We have to figure out a way to get the ball down the field and score.”
— On missed opportunities in the first half: “It’s tough, especially in a game like this, this type of environment. You want to do as much as you can on the road to score as many points as possible. Any time we’re there we want to come out with points and we didn’t do that. ... I think we had some good chances and just came up short.”
— On QB Ryan Finley: “The key question is the turnover battle and you’ve got to find a way to win it if you’re going to win football games. We didn’t win the turnover battle tonight and we didn’t win the football game. ... I thought Ryan handled the environment pretty well. I thought he competed. It’s hard at the end there where you’re in a situation where you have to throw it.”
— On whether the QB competition should be re-opened: “I really don’t have an opinion on the quarterback battle right now.”
— On 11 penalties for 76 yards: “The penalties is the most disappointing and some of the false starts. The penalties we can control, those are the ones that we’ve got to clean up. I’m not exactly sure why those showed up as much as they did. That will be addressed.”
— On the go-ahead TD: “My receiver ran a deep post as well, Devon Blackmon. I was right on his hip and I’m making sure he doesn’t catch it but as the ball came down I saw someone flash this way with a white jersey and come down with a touchdown. ... It’s disappointing. We saw it happen last week and we want to make sure it doesn’t happen to us. You’ve got to give them credit. They did a good job going up and getting the ball. We’ve got to make those plays if we want to be a dominant defense.”
— On moving forward: “We’re going to move forward from this and get better from this and learn and take constructive criticism and open our hearts up to getting better. ... We’ve just got to stay together and look ourselves in the mirror. We can’t point fingers at nobody but ourselves.”
— On not scoring in the fourth quarter: “BYU is a good team. They stopped us in the fourth quarter. We’ll go back and we’ll fix it.”
— On the missed opportunities in the first half: “It was important. If we would have gotten points on the board, we would have probably been more confident going into the second half. We’ve just got to finish the game.”
— On the strong start to the second half: “This week in practice we really emphasized coming on strong in the second half.”
— On the ending: “It was shocking. They threw pretty much a Hail Mary and caught it. It hurts and we’ve got to go back and fix everything.”
— On the offense: “I feel like we got a lot better as an offense tonight and in the weeks to come we’re just going to continue to grow and we’ll get better.”
Coach Bronco Mendenahll on safety Kai Nacua: “It’s great to have Kai Nacua back. He changed the game. The range he covers and the plays he makes, that’s really who he is. I’m really excited for him regarding all the scrutiny he’s been under. For him to be able to come out and play that way it’s fitting. It shows who he is and how he’s worked so hard to be back on our team.”
Mendenhall on wide receiver Mitchell Juergens: “When Mitch received his scholarship, the reaction of the team had never been like that. It was a mosh pit celebration because they respect him so much. There is no one the team is happier to see make a play like that than Juergens. They respect him so much. That’s the best tribute anybody could ever pay. The team is happier to see him make a play like that. He stretched out all 5-foot-7 of him or however tall he is.”
Juergens, on his catch: “I had my guy beat a little bit, and I was wondering if he was going to throw it. So I just tried to make a play and fortunately I made it. The first thing I did was look for yellow flags on the ground. Honestly, I couldn’t believe it. It was just happiness and joy and excitement.”
DB Michael Wadsworth (game-high 11 tackles): “We had a couple mishaps, but I thought we did really, really well. We tackled really well and communicated really well. Boise State is a hard team. They do a lot of different formations, but we communicated really well.”
BYU— Mitchell Juergens 84 pass from Tanner Mangum (Trevor Samson kick), 14:09. Key plays: Defensive tackle Armand Nance’s sack set up third-and-19, but Mangum scrambled to his right and chucked a perfect deep ball as he neared the sideline. Juergens had slipped behind the defense. Drive: 3 plays, 75 yards, :51. BYU 7, Boise State 0
BSU— Jeremy McNichols 3 run (Tyler Rausa kick), 4:13. Key plays: Senior wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes made catches of 21 and 7 yards, quarterback Ryan Finley gained 5 and 7 yards on designed runs and McNichols did the rest. Drive: 7 plays, 52 yards, 2:38. BYU 7, Boise State 7
BSU— Rausa 31 field goal, :00. Key plays: Williams-Rhodes made a 15-yard catch on a crossing route on second-and-5 and a leaping grab on a pass thrown behind him for 16 yards on third-and-4. But a false start helped kill the drive. Drive: 9 plays, 45 yards, 3:16. Boise State 10, BYU 7
BSU— McNichols 3 run (Rausa kick), 11:01. Key plays: Wide receiver Chaz Anderson gained 15 yards on a third-and-2 reception. The drive was kept alive by a roughing-the-passer penalty on third-and-16 and freshman tight end David Lucero gained 26 yards on his first career reception. Drive: 11 plays, 75 yards, 3:59. Boise State 17, BYU 7
BYU— Adam Hine 21 run (Samson kick), 4:32. Key plays: Mangum scrambled and found wide receiver Devon Blackmon wide open for a 70-yard gain on third-and-19. Hine broke two tackle attempts on the TD, which came on second-and-20. Drive: 5 plays, 84 yards, 3:07. Boise State 17, BYU 14
BSU— McNichols 29 pass from Finley (Rausa kick), 2:03. Key plays: Finley hit tight end Holden Huff for 17 yards to get the Broncos out of bad field position. He added a 23-yarder to Williams-Rhodes before McNichols took a screen pass to the end zone with a nifty cut. Drive: 6 plays, 86 yards, 2:23. Boise State 24, BYU 14
BYU— Mangum 1 run (Samson kick), 10:22. Key plays: Kai Nacua intercepted Finley for the second time on a deep ball and returned it to the Boise State 12-yard line. The ensuing possession included pass interference on the Cougars, a 20-yard run, a personal foul for playing without a helmet on the Broncos and pass interference on the Broncos. Drive: 5 plays, 12 yards, 2:41. Boise State 24, BYU 21
BYU— Juergens 35 pass from Mangum (Samson kick), :45. Key plays: Hine gained 19 yards on third-and-3. The TD was a desperation throw on fourth-and-7. Drive: 7 plays, 64 yards, 2:48. BYU 28, Boise State 24
BYU— Kai Nacua 50 interception return (Samson kick), :30. BYU 35, Boise State 24
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First quarter: BYU freshman quarterback Tanner Mangum of Eagle High thrilled LaVell Edwards Stadium on the first drive of his first career start. On third-and-19 from his own 16-yard line, Mangum scrambled to his right. Just before the sideline, he hurled a perfect strike to wide-open receiver Mitchell Juergens for an 84-yard touchdown. Boise State began to regain the momentum with an interception from senior cornerback Donte Deayon on a deep ball at the Boise State 7-yard line. The sophomore quarterback Ryan Finley, making his second start, began to find a groove. One decent drive flipped field position and the next drive produced points. Finley threw for 27 yards and ran for 13. Sophomore tailback Jeremy McNichols finished with a 3-yard touchdown run on which he drove into the pile, slipped to the left and found a hole into the end zone. Finley opened the next drive with a 43-yard strike to junior wide receiver Chaz Anderson, who made a diving catch. But Finley tried a similar throw to junior wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck on the next play and was intercepted at the 1-yard line. In-game analysis: The Broncos weathered an awful start with the deep ball. Finley got into a rhythm with some medium-range out routes but got greedy on the interception. Punter Sean Wale did a nice job helping the Broncos get control of the field-position battle late in the quarter.
Second quarter: Boise State reached BYU territory on its final six drives of the first half, including all four in the second quarter. But the Broncos didn’t score in the quarter until Tyler Rausa nailed a 31-yard field goal on the final play of the half. They punted at the BYU 48-yard line, 38 and 39. Those drives started with terrific field position because the Broncos were winning the punt game. The scoring drive started at the Boise State 41. Senior wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes made a 15-yard catch on a crossing route and a 16-yard, leaping catch on a third-down pass that was slightly behind him. A false start contributed to the Broncos settling for a field goal. The defense, meanwhile, forced a three-and-out, got an interception from Deayon and pushed the Cougars back inside their own red zone after a 41-yard reception. The defense added another three-and-out before half. In-game analysis: The Broncos’ dominant defense and Wale gave the offense repeated opportunities to score points and build a cushion, but they couldn’t capitalize. False starts, BYU’s blitz and inaccurate passes bogged down the offense. It felt like the Broncos should be up by two touchdowns at half but were only ahead by three points. Halftime stats: Boise State outgained BYU 189-155. Finley 13-20-1 153. Mangum 8-14-2 169 TD. McNichols 8-22-TD. Williams-Rhodes 7-70. Deayon two INTs.
Third quarter: The Broncos’ offense came alive with a 75-yard touchdown drive to open the half, keyed by a roughing-the-passer penalty on third-and-16 and capped by McNichols’ 3-yard run, and an 86-yard touchdown drive on the second possession. The latter drive included a 23-yard catch by Williams-Rhodes and was capped by McNichols’ 29-yard reception on a screen. McNichols appeared to be pinned along the sideline about the 10-yard line by two defenders, but he cut inside and scored. BYU’s touchdown was set up by another blown coverage in the scramble drill, which resulted in a 70-yard reception. Adam Hine scored on a 21-yard run on second-and-20 after two missed tackles. In-game analysis: The Broncos’ defense started to show some cracks but the offense found some rhythm. The blown coverages and missed tackles will be hard to watch in film review.
Fourth quarter: Kai Nacua returned his second interception of the game to the Boise State 12-yard line to set up the Cougars’ first touchdown of the quarter. BYU took the lead with 45 seconds left in the game. On fourth-and-7 at the Boise State 35, one play after safety Dylan Sumner-Gardner intercepted a pass but landed out of bounds, Mangum scrambled again. He lofted a pass down the middle of the field and Juergens caught the ball as he fell to the grass. Boise State’s attempt to answer lasted one play — another Nacua interception that was returned 50 yards for a TD. In-game analysis: Finley’s mistakes gave the Cougars 14 points in the fourth quarter. But the Broncos’ defense’s inability to handle the scramble drill was costly, too.
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Deayon catches Thompson in picks race
Boise State senior cornerback Donte Deayon grabbed his 14th and 15th career interceptions in the first half Saturday at BYU.
BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum tried to throw a go route to 6-foot-6 wide receiver Nick Kurtz in the first quarter. But Deayon, who is 5-9, got a perfect read on the underthrown ball and high-pointed it for his first interception of the season.
Deayon added his second interception on a wild throw in the second quarter.
“Everybody talked about how big their receivers are,” Deayon said. “We knew coming in we were undersized. We knew they were going to throw the ball.”
Deayon is tied with senior safety Darian Thompson with 15 career interceptions. They’re three behind Gabe Franklin’s school record for the FBS era (since 1996) and Eric Weddle’s Mountain West record.
A low blow
BYU sophomore offensive lineman Ului Lapuaho punched Boise State junior nickel Chanceller James below the belt when they were wrestling for a loose football in the first half.
Lapuaho was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct.
“How is # 73 for BYU not ejected?” Fox Sports rules analyst Mike Pereira tweeted. “Among other things, he punched an opponent in the Cajones!!!!!”
This happened during the Boise State BYU Game http://t.co/fBF9tSxzLM— Brandon Spiegel (@BrandonSpiegel) September 13, 2015
Boise State senior wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes, who has a chance to break the school record for career receptions, produced a breakout performance Saturday after three quiet games.
Williams-Rhodes made seven catches for 70 yards in the first half, including a leaping grab on a ball thrown behind him that helped the Broncos kick a field goal late in the first half. That catch came on third down. He finished with 11 catches for 107 yards.
Williams-Rhodes had two catches for 16 yards in the previous three games.
Williams-Rhodes came into Saturday’s game with 172 career catches. The school record is 244, set by Matt Miller last year.
Big game for Wale
Boise State junior punter Sean Wale was the first-half MVP. He averaged 40.6 yards on five punts, including three that were downed inside the 10-yard line.
Three Broncos out this week
WR D.J. Dean and DE Gabe Perez, both backups, missed their second straight games. They have been injured.
Senior DT Antoine Turner didn’t make the trip to Provo. He didn’t play in the opener, either. Turner is dealing with an eligibility issue, Boise State officials said.
Wide receiver Rick Smith, who didn’t play in the opener, also wasn’t on the trip.
ESPN analysts Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso and Desmond Howard picked BYU on “College GameDay.” ... ESPN pushed the kickoff back to 8:26 p.m. Still, the broadcast had to start on ESPNU because the previous ESPN2 game ran long. ... Boise State’s single-game captains were former LDS missionary Darren Lee, a junior linebacker, and senior defensive tackle Justin Taimatuia. ... The Broncos wore all black to counter BYU’s whiteout look. ... BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum put a “4” on his arm, presumably a tribute to injured teammate Taysom Hill. Mangum replaced Hill in the starting lineup. ... Boise State had an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 fans at the game. ... LB Joe Martarano carried the Hammer. ... Boise State won the coin toss and deferred. ... When Deayon was briefly injured, true freshman cornerback Tyler Horton replaced him for one play. ... Senior defensive tackle Tutulupeatau Mataele finally made his Boise State debut. He was ineligible the past two seasons and injured for the opener. ... The sellout crowd was announced at 63,470. ... Boise State broke a second-half, offensive-TD drought of 90 minutes, 37 seconds dating to the Mountain West championship game last season.
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Our coverage plan is a little different this year. I’ll be spending 100 percent of my time on our live/digital coverage of the game — so I’ll be even more active than usual updating this blog and interacting with fans on Facebook and Twitter (@IDS_BroncoBeat).
Late in the game, we’ll be collecting fans’ brief takeaways from the game. We’ll run the best ones in Sunday’s paper and in the blog post with my takeaways from the game. To participate, tweet with the hashtag #bsutake, respond to the Facebook post soliciting opinions or email email@example.com.
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