After missing the previous two games with an ankle injury, junior quarterback Tanner Mangum returned to the BYU starting lineup in a 24-7 loss to Boise State on Friday night.
Following an initial spark in which he completed eight of his first nine attempts, Mangum struggled against the Broncos in a 24-7 loss. He had 10 completions on 24 passes the rest of the way, including two interceptions.
“I didn’t take care of the ball and threw a pick,” Mangum said. “That really changed the momentum. I have to be better there. They are a good team and they did some things that made us change the way we had to do things. They were physical and we didn’t continue with the same consistency that we should have.”
For the game, Mangum was 18-of-33 for 164 yards and was sacked once. On the season, he’s 67-of-123 for 630 yards with two touchdowns and six interceptions. While he led the Cougars to a touchdown on their opening drive, he was unable to move the offense past the Broncos’ 35-yard line again. The Cougars lead the nation in interceptions thrown this season with 12.
It was a far cry from his performance two years ago in the Broncos’ last visit to Provo when Mangum led the Cougars to a 35-24 comeback win Sept. 12, 2015. He had 309 yards and a pair of touchdowns in that game.
“With Tanner in there, we know he didn’t quite move like he could before, he had a couple throws when he rolled out there were some open guys,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “... We were trying to contain him and not let him get outside.”
BYU came into the game 126th nationally (out of 129) with 12.6 points per game. Now, averaging 11.7 ppg, that ranking may be even worse. Coach Kalani Sitake put it succinctly when talking about Mangum and the offense: “It’s just not good enough.” Mangum, for his part, said “I accept full responsibility for our struggles.”
LARSON GETS THE STARTING NOD
Boise State sophomore Garrett Larson, a Fruitland High grad, got the start at center with senior Mason Hampton out with an injury to his lower right leg. Larson had started the first three games at left guard and had played center in practice, but never in a game.
The Broncos found sustained consistency in the running game for the first time this season, and also did not allow a sack for the first time.
“Really proud of Garrett Larson,” Harsin said. “Moved him back into the lineup playing center, he really worked extremely hard over the two weeks of just snapping. They were accurate tonight. ... We played better up front. It’s a credit to Garrett and those guys up front, wanting to play better.”
WINNING WHERE IT’S HIDDEN
The Broncos benefited from some solid field position all night, and that made things a little difficult for the Cougars.
Boise State’s average starting field position was its own 40-yard line, while BYU’s was its own 26. Thanks to two interceptions for the Broncos, a bad BYU punt that gave them the ball at their own 48 and two fourth-down stops in BYU territory, Boise State had some short fields.
Punters Joel Velazquez (two for 96 yards) and Quinn Skillin (one for 54) combined to average 50 yards on three punts for Boise State.
Sophomore safety Kekoa Nawahine led the Broncos with nine tackles. ... Redshirt freshman running back Robert Mahone carried the Hammer and junior defensive end Durrant Miles carried the “Bleed Blue” flag. … Redshirt freshman Avery Williams got his first start at cornerback for Boise State. ... Boise State had just one penalty. ... Senior wide receiver Cedrick Wilson’s 43 yards receiving led the team, but were the third-fewest in the 17 games he’s appeared on offense for the Broncos.