Lavell Edwards stadium filled with fans in royal blue for BYU’s homecoming game against East Carolina on Saturday night. It turned out to be a close game between the Cougars and the Pirates with BYU barely securing the 38-45 win with less than a minute to go in the fourth quarter.
The game was filled with ups and downs as several BYU players sustained injuries while several earning career highs.
Near the end of the third quarter BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum was seen limping and holding his right hamstring. Beau Hoge warmed up on the sideline while Mangum was evaluated on the table by trainers. Hoge then stepped in as quarterback while Mangum continued to get his hamstring worked out by trainers.
East Carolina scored back-to-back touchdowns in the fourth quarter, followed by a field goal to tie the game 38-38. Cougar fans were on the edge of their seats after losing a 17-point lead.
Cheers rang out from the student section as Mangum jogged back on the field with just a few minutes remaining in the game. Fans once again looked to Mangum to save the day.
“When you’re in the middle of a game you want to do all you can to keep playing and help your team win, even though you’re hurt,” Mangum said following the game. “When it came down to the last drive I couldn’t stay on the sideline any longer.”
The Cougars made a quick progression down the field with the loud support of a enthusiastic fans. Brown had his third rushing touchdown for the night with a 9-yard run and secured the win for BYU with 0:19 left on the clock.
But the Cougars were off to a slow start and quickly gave up 14 points to East Carolina to start the game.
The Pirates started James Summers as quarterback after much speculation following their recent win against SMU. Summers was the first to put points on the board with a 34-yard run. ECU’s second touchdown came from a punt blocked by Trevian Hicks that was recovered by the Pirates in the end zone.
Mangum found his rhythm near the end of the first quarter and connected with Algie Brown for a 22-yard pass that Brown then ran into the end zone for BYU’s first touchdown of the night.
BYU continued to dominate the ball though the second quarter and scored three unanswered touchdowns. The Cougars blocked a punt from ECU to regain possession at the 1-yard line, and Brown ran the ball into the end zone. The last player to have a rushing and receiving touchdown in a game for BYU was Jamaal Williams in the 2012 game against Georgia Tech.
The Cougars continued their scoring momentum with touchdown passes to Mitch Mathews and Terenn Houk. Mangum’s three touchdown passes set a new career high.
Mangum shared the love with the receiver core as nine receivers had receptions. Topping the list was Devon Blackmon with 142 yards, followed by Mathews with 72 yards. Blackmon’s nine catches also earned him career highs.
Brown led the Cougars rushing attack with 24 carries for 134 yards and earned career highs for rushes, catches, and touchdowns. He also had a 53-yard touchdown rush that was both a career best and the longest of the season for BYU.
“The biggest thing that helped me this week was the opportunity that Francis Bernard and I had to meet up with Harvey Unga. He gave us some great advice,” Brown said during post-game interviews.