Cougars manage close win against San Jose State

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Ari Davis
Algernon Brown runs the ball into the end zone for a touchdown in the game against San Jose State. The Cougars beat the Spartans 17-16. (Ari Davis)

The BYU football team managed a close 17-16 win against the San Jose State Spartans late Friday night.

Spartan Stadium was filled with many Cougar fans ready to cheer the team on through a late 8:30 PST game. It was a low-scoring and close game in contrast to last week’s 70-6 win against Wagner. The Cougars were a 12.5-point favorite going into the game. The game was surprisingly close and kept fans awake and on their toes with overtime potential.

“It was a hard fought game,” BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said following the game. “San Jose gave us everything they could draw up and throw at us. We were hard to score on tonight.”

The Cougars entered the fourth quarter with a 14-10 lead. They stretched that lead with a 31-yard field goal by Trevor Samson with 11:21 remaining in the game. These were the only points they put on the board during the last quarter despite having showed fourth quarter domination in previous games.

The Cougars were in the lead, but the Spartans continued to progress down the field toward the end zone nearing the last minute of the game. San Jose State quarterback Kenny Potter rushed for a 6-yard touchdown. The Spartans then went for the extra two points instead of kicking for the PAT. Michael Wadsworth broke up the pass to keep the game from entering overtime and secure the win for the Cougars.

The Spartans scored a field goal early in the first quarter. The Cougars answered with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Tanner Mangum to Mitch Mathews. This was the team-leading ninth touchdown of the year for Mathews and tied with his high from last year.

Algernon Brown had a 5-yard rush for a touchdown with 10:12 to go in the second quarter, putting the Cougars up 14-3.

Fred Warner recovered the ball after a fumble by San Jose State. Mangum went for a deep touchdown pass to Mathews. Mathews grabbed the ball and fell into the endzone, but couldn’t secure it for the touchdown. The Cougars hoped to still turn the drive into some points. Mangum threw again. This time he was intercepted by Cleveland Wallace who returned it for 61-yards and a touchdown.

The Cougars ended the half with a 14-10 lead.

Both defenses fought through the third quarter and neither team scored a touchdown or even a field goal.

“I thought our defense played well,” Mendenhall said. “We gave up one touchdown, and I think that was the key to the game was our defensive consistency. We have plenty to work on, but I think our team continues to show that they hang together, they find a way to win. But there’s a lot we can clean up.”

Fred Warner had his third fumble recovery this year. This was the most by a Cougar since Shawn Doman had four in 2009. Warner also had two sacks and two tackles-for-loss throughout the game. Trey Dye also had a 46-yard kick return that was the longest by a BYU player this year.

Mangum’s 15th touchdown pass tied the BYU freshman record for most in a season. He threw 23-37 for 293 yards.

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