Boise State football faces another Mangum

The last two weeks have bordered on madness for the Mangum family, and they are loving every moment.

From youngest son Tanner’s two game-winning Hail Mary passes as a BYU freshman quarterback, to middle son Madison’s ESPN-worthy catch for Idaho State on Sept. 5, there has been no shortage of highlights.

“It’s been remarkable to see your children being talked about on the national news for accomplishing things they’ve always dreamt about,” said Karen Mangum, the players’ mother.

Tanner, an Eagle High graduate, and Madison, a Timberline graduate, both appeared as Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, on SportsCenter’s Top 10 the first weekend of the season for their plays.

It has sent the family on a path it didn’t quite envision, with Tanner taking over as BYU’s starter following Taysom Hill’s injury, and has made it get creative with travel plans trying to see both play.

“The hardest part is having to be two places at once. It’s a few more miles than we maybe thought, but so worth it,” Karen said.

Karen and husband Michael won’t have to travel much from their Eagle home Friday when Madison, a senior receiver, and his Bengals take on Boise State at Albertsons Stadium. Their eldest son, Parker, will be in attendance, making the drive from Oregon, where he works for Nike. On Saturday morning, the parents, along with Parker and Meredith, the family’s eldest of two daughters, will fly to Los Angeles for the BYU-UCLA game.

Sometimes the schedule will work out well like that, like the three Friday games BYU plays this season, enabling the chance to see Idaho State play the following day. There will be some conflicts, necessitating one parent to be at one game, the other elsewhere. Next week, Michael will go see Idaho State at UNLV, while Karen had initially planned to play in a Denver tennis tournament, but instead will travel to see BYU play Michigan. Making it a little more interesting, too, is that both teams have the same bye week the last weekend of October.

Not all BYU games were on the travel docket, but now there likely will be a trip to see the Cougars play Missouri in Kansas City on Nov. 14. The next week, however, the Bengals play at Weber State in Ogden, Utah, at 1 p.m., with BYU’s kickoff against Fresno State not set. A night game would mean seeing both in the same day.

“That would be perfect,” Karen said.

Oh, and add in youngest child Abigail’s athletic schedule at Eagle High as a volleyball and basketball standout, and the Mangums spend many hours in the stands. Madison said from youth sports to college football, that’s kind of how his family has always been.

“It’s been so important to us, having a family that is so supportive, wants to help me be my best, whether it’s throwing the ball in the yard with Parker and Tanner or having your parents, your sisters make such an effort to see you,” Madison said.

Even the two brothers starring a few hours’ drive apart have been able to see the other play either on TV or online.

“I’m just so happy for Madison. He’s worked so hard to be where he is now. ... It’s definitely something you definitely don’t see that often, two brothers going 1-2 on SportsCenter,” Tanner said. “We grew up throwing the football together, dreaming of moments like that.”

The game he grew up loving alongside his brothers almost became a distant memory for Madison, who was a senior at Timberline when his brother was a freshman — “he made Tanner look really good,” Karen said with a laugh. After choosing a walk-on offer from BYU over the same from Boise State in 2009, redshirting, then serving a two-year mission, he worked out a bit with the team before seeing not much of a future there. He took a year away from the game before a friend convinced him to come to Pocatello in 2013.

“I thought for a while there I was done,” Madison said. “... But I have a passion for it. I wanted to play at the highest level I could, make myself better.”

Madison had an “ah-ha” moment his first fall, struggling against Washington and its athletes. He dedicated himself to becoming faster and bigger (he added nearly 30 pounds and is now 6-foot-2, 212 pounds).

“Small, intimidated,” he felt. “From that moment on, I never wanted to feel that way again.”

Ever since, he definitely has made defenses felt that way instead. His brother will be watching when the Bengals are taking on the Broncos in the nationally televised contest, and with his family in the stands hopes for another big game.

“I don’t feel nervous playing in front of them,” Madison said. “It really gives me more confidence, knowing they were able to make it. It shows the love we have and makes me want to do well for them.”

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