BYU’s Mangum shows improved form; Idaho Vandals get rare ESPNU game

BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum throws the ball against San Jose State on Oct. 28 in Provo, Utah.
BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum throws the ball against San Jose State on Oct. 28 in Provo, Utah. The Associated Press

For the first time since injuring his left ankle in a 19-13 loss to Utah on Sept. 9, BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum is starting to look like himself again.

Mangum threw for 283 yards and three touchdowns as the Cougars ended a seven-game losing streak with a 41-20 victory over San Jose State last Saturday.

The graduate of Eagle High also ran the ball seven times for 30 yards, including a pair of first downs on scrambles.

“We needed some first downs, and I did what I could with the opportunities I had,” Mangum told Jay Drew of The Salt Lake Tribune. “My ankle is feeling better and giving me more mobility.”

BYU coach Kalani Sitake was pleased with Mangum’s performance but knows the junior signal caller is capable of playing at an even higher level.

“Without watching film, I still think there’s a lot of plays he could have made,” Sitake told the Deseret News. “There were throws that were a little off, and we’ll see after watching film if it was on routes or on his delivery, but there’s some opportunities we could have had.”

BYU (2-7) plays at Mountain West division leader Fresno State on Saturday (8:45 p.m., ESPN2) as it tries to put together back-to-back wins for the first time this season.

“We’re obviously happy with the win, but I still feel like there’s so much more we could have done,” Mangum told the Deseret News. “I missed a couple of throws and there’s some drives we were stalled on that we could have finished, so there’s always room to improve.”

Vandals face Troy on national TV

Idaho makes its first regular season appearance on an ESPN network since 2014 when the Vandals kick off Thursday at Troy (7:15 p.m., ESPNU).

The Trojans (6-2, 3-1) — who lost 24-13 at Boise State on Sept. 2 — boast a defense that ranks No. 1 in the Sun Belt and 21st in the nation, allowing 317.4 yards per game.

The Vandals (3-5, 2-2) beat Louisiana-Monroe 31-23 last week to end a three-game skid. All four of their Sun Belt games this season have been one-possession games decided in the final minutes.

On Monday, Idaho quarterback Matt Linehan was named the Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Week after going 28-for-42 passing for 360 yards and three touchdowns against ULM.

Bengals set for final home game

Idaho State will honor nine seniors Saturday during the Bengals’ last home game of the season. The opponent is UC Davis at Holt Arena in Pocatello (2:35 p.m., Pluto TV).

Three of those seniors are from the Treasure Valley: Hagen Graves (Skyview High), Zak Johnson (Nampa Christian) and Mario Jenkins (Columbia).

UC Davis (4-4, 2-3 Big Sky) is 2-0 all-time against the Bengals (4-5, 2-4). The Aggies are coached by former Boise State coach Dan Hawkins.

Coyotes eye history

When the College of Idaho hosts No. 17 Montana Tech (6-2) on Saturday (noon, 99.1 FM) at Simplot Stadium in Caldwell, the Coyotes will go for their fifth win of the season. C of I (4-5, 4-4 Frontier Conference) has not posted a five-win season since it went 5-4 in 1969.

Quarterback Darius-James Peterson set the school single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback in the Coyotes’ 38-20 win at Eastern Oregon last week. Peterson has 919 yards on the ground in nine games.

Rachel Roberts: 208-377-6422, @byrachelroberts