The BYU football team opened its 2017 campaign with a 20-6 victory over the Portland State Vikings at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday.
“It was good to get a win,” said BYU coach Kalani Sitake. “We’re thankful to be 1-0 but there’s a lot to work on. There’s improvement needed in all three phases, but we’re looking forward to getting better.”
Tanner Mangum led the Cougars with 194 passing yards and one touchdown while Squally Canada led the committee of running backs with 98 yards and a touchdown.
Kavika Fonua had 63 yards, including a 34-yard run, and KJ Hall had 11 yards.
Things started slowly for the Cougars, with the team’s first touchdown coming with 2:01 to play in the first quarter.
Mangum found freshman wide receiver Neil Pau’u for a 28-yard touchdown pass to make it 7-0 BYU.
It was Pau’u’s first career reception and touchdown.
In the second quarter, following a spectacular catch from receiver Talon Shumway, Canada found the end zone on a 1-yard plunge to extend the Cougars’ lead to 14.
Right before the half, Portland State marched down the field and converted on two fourth downs before Jalani Eason found Darnell Adams for the 4-yard touchdown completion. The PAT failed, and BYU entered the half up 14-6.
Rhett Almond added two field goals in the fourth quarter to push BYU’s lead to 20-6 after missing an earlier field goal attempt.
Overall, BYU’s offense failed to break 200 yards through the air or on the ground and multiple penalties stalled drives or negated big plays.
“I think the penalties were drive killers for us, whether it was holding or chop blocks,” Sitake said. “It’s simple mistakes that we’re making and we can’t blame anybody but ourselves. We made some mistakes when we shouldn’t have them, they had no bearing on the play. I think it was Kavika (Fonua) that busted a run on us in the game and the hold had nothing to really do with that play. We have some guys that are still new to this and I think it was good that they got some experience so we can see it on film and fix this.”
Offensive miscues were another point the team will look to address in preparation for next week.
“We’ll take away positives and negatives and there are things we wish we would have done better in the game, but really we showcased our ability to win,” Shumway said. “Nothing can be taken lightly — we faced an excellent opponent. We have work to do — you always have work to do. We’ll buckle down and get ready for the next one.”
BYU will travel to Houston to take on No. 13 LSU in the Advocare Texas Kickoff. The game is scheduled to kick off at 7:30 p.m. MDT and will be broadcast on ESPN.