BYU’s trademark of the 2015 season has been thrilling, fourth quarter victories and Saturday’s game against East Carolina was no exception.
The Cougars found themselves in a 14-0 hole early in the game giving up a 34-yd TD run after after a fumble by Algernon Brown followed by a blocked punt recovered by the Pirates in the end zone.
The victory was the first time under Bronco Mendenhall that BYU was able to climb back from a 14-point deficit and emerge victorious.
Mangum said, “[After being down 14-0] we felt fine, we felt ready to go, motivated. It didn’t change our excitement, it didn’t change our enthusiasm it just made us more ready to fight because we knew they were ready to play.”
BYU was able to bounce back, responding with a 1o play 75-yd drive capped off with a 22-yd pass from Tanner Mangum to Algernon Brown out of the backfield.
BYU then responded on East Carolina’s next drive forcing a three and out followed by a Bronson Kaufusi blocked punt that BYU was able to recover on the 1-yd line and three plays later tied the score at 14-14 when Brown punched the ball in.
The Cougars pieced together two more drives of 87 and 77-yds capped off with TD passes to Mitch Mathews and Terren Houk. The Pirates responded by substituting in their backup QB Blake Kemp who was able to march the Pirates down the field 77-yds and bring the score to 28-21 to close the half.
While he didn’t find the end zone, WR Devon Blackmon had a huge first half for the cougars finishing with 6 catches for 96 yds. He was instrumental in keeping drives alive and was able to make some great plays with the ball in his hands.
The Cougars were able to put 10 more points on the board with some help from the defense in the third quarter who forced three turnovers when the Pirates were moving the ball at ease.
BYU was able to capitalize on two turnovers with ten points that were capitalized by a 53-yd run by Brown and a 37-yd FG by Trevor Samson before QB Tanner Mangum had to leave the game with an injured hamstring late in the quarter.
With Mangum out of the game, the Cougars looked deflated and put together an anemic fourth quarter performance, being outscored 17-7 by the Pirates. The offense was unable to sustain drives with Freshman QB Beau Hoge running the offense who gave up four straight three-and-outs capped off with an INT which ECU was able to use to tie up the game at 38-38.
LB Fred Warner said of the fourth quarter performance of the defense, “We made some mistakes on defense, but there are things we can work on to be a better defensive unit in the future.”
Mangum came in to close the game for the Cougars and provided an immediate impact piecing together 10 play 75-yd drive that was capped off with a 9-yd run by Brown with :19 remaining in the game.
Mangum said on his decision to reenter the game, “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. When it came down to the last drive I couldn’t stay on the sideline any longer.”
Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall said of the last score by Brown, “It was a relief first, I have to be honest. Then it was excitement and then right away I hope that we could knock down a pass [on defense].” Mendenhall also added, “The game wasn’t over. We still had to known down some passes. The defensive coordinator hat was on so I couldn’t be too excited in the moment.”
The Cougars have a quick turn around and will face the Cincinnati Bearcats next week on Friday night.