PROVO, Utah – Algernon Brown’s career performance, including the game-winning touchdown on the final drive, led BYU to a 45-38 win over East Carolina in the homecoming game Saturday night.
When BYU's offense went cold in the fourth quarter, the Pirates (3-3, 1-1 American Athletic Conference) rallied with 17 points to tie BYU (4-2), 38-38.
Quarterback Tanner Mangum left the game during the third quarter after hobbling following a run but returned on BYU's final drive. Mangum went 3 for 4 on the drive for 27 yards and Brown rushed nine yards for his fourth touchdown for the game-winner with 19 seconds remaining.
The Cougars had 508 yards of total offense, just shy of the Pirates’ 518 total yards. Mangum completed 24 of 33 passes for 332 yards, his third game throwing over 300 yards. He threw three touchdowns and had no interceptions.
Brown rushed for 134 yards on 24 carries for three touchdowns, all career highs. He also had one receiving touchdown. Devon Blackmon had a game-high 142 yards on nine catches. Mitch Mathews and Terenn Houk both caught touchdowns in the win.
Michael Wadsworth led the team in tackles with 10, followed closely by Kai Nacua’s nine. Sione Takitaki had five tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and recovered a fumble. Fred Warner recorded an interception and a fumble recovery.
ECU jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter after two costly turnovers by BYU. After a Pirate fumble recovery, ECU quarterback James Summers held the ball on fourth down and rushed for 34 yards to get the touchdown and an early 7-0 lead with 7:21 remaining in the quarter. Just two minutes later, ECU blocked a punt and recovered it in the end zone to extend the lead to 14-0.
The Cougars marched down the field to answer back. A couple of big receptions by Blackmon set up a 22-yard touchdown catch by Brown with 1:36 left in the first quarter.
BYU then answered with a punt block of its own as senior Bronson Kaufusi got a hand on a Pirate kick. Trey Dye recovered the ball at the 1-yard line which allowed Brown to run the ball into the end zone for his second touchdown, tying the game up 14-14 with 13:20 left until half.
The offensive onslaught continued for BYU in the second quarter. One scoring drive was kept alive after Jonny Linehan faked a punt and rushed seven yards for the first down. With 8:05 in the second quarter, Mathews caught a 13-yard reception to make it 21-14.
Three double-digit yard receptions led the Cougars down the field in their next possession. Mangum found Houk for a 9-yard touchdown, the senior's first of the year, to double the Pirates’ score 28-14 with 2:14 in the half. ECU capped off the half by scoring a touchdown with six seconds left to cut the lead to 28-21.
The second half began with Brown rushing up the middle for a 53-yard touchdown, extending BYU’s lead to 35-21 with 13:02 in the third quarter.
The Cougar defense forced three turnovers in a row, a fumble recovery by Takitaki and a fumble recovery and interception for Warner to give the offense more opportunities. Unfortunately, BYU was unable to convert any of those turnovers into touchdowns. With 2:25 left in the third quarter, Trevor Samson kicked a 37-yard field goal to push the lead to 38-21.
Taking advantage of Mangum on the sidelines, the Pirates fired back in the fourth quarter with two touchdowns and one field goal to tie the game at 38-38. Beau Hoge threw an interception to set up the ECU game-tying field goal with 4:01 left in the game.
Mangum came back in for BYU’s last drive to take the offense down the field. With just 19 seconds left in the game, Brown rushed nine yards for his fourth touchdown of the game to take back the lead for the final time.
BYU's homestand continues against Cincinnati on Friday Oct. 16 at 6 p.m. MDT. The game will be televised live on ESPN and broadcast on the Cougar IMG Sports Network, KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM and Sirius XM 143.
PROVO, Utah - BYU continues its home schedule against East Carolina in the 2015 homecoming game Saturday, Oct. 10. Kick is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. MT and will be nationally televised on ESPNU and Watch ESPN online.
The Cougars (3-2) are coming off a 30-13 win over UConn while East Carolina (3-2, 1-1) just picked up its first American Athletic Conference win over SMU.
BYU will be wearing its classic royal blue and white uniform combination for the homecoming game.
Fans can tune in for live coverage on the Cougar IMG Sports Network with Greg Wrubell, which can be found on 1160 AM, 102.7 FM, Sirius XM 143, BYUcougars.com and the BYU Cougars app. IMG's radio coverage will begin at 3:30 p.m. MT.
BYUtv will provide pregame and postgame coverage, with Countdown to Kickoff starting at 4:30 p.m. MT. Postgame coverage runs for half an hour after the game.
BYU (3-2) vs East Carolina (3-2, 1-1)
Saturday, Oct. 10
Kickoff: 5:30 p.m. MT
LaVell Edwards Stadium (63,470)
FIRST MEETING. BYU is facing East Carolina for the first time in program history. The Pirates will be the first team from either of the Carolina’s to make a trip to Provo and represent the first squad from North or South Carolina to play BYU. BYU is scheduled to play a return game in Greenville in 2017, marking the first trip to the Carolinas for the Cougars.
SAGARIN’S TOUGHEST SCHEDULE. BYU ranks No. 1 with the toughest schedule in all of college football according to the latest ratings by USA Today’s Jeff Sagarin. The top five goes BYU, Texas, Virginia, Hawaii and Alabama.
ECU-BYU CONNECTION. In 1947, the East Carolina Teacher’s College started a football program under athletic director Dr. Nephi Moroni Jorgensen, the first son of Danish immigrants born in America after joining the LDS church. Eventually ECTC became ECU in the 1960’s, with the football program and athletic department flourishing under eventual ECU Hall of Famer Jorgensen. Several of Jorgensen’s decendents have attended either BYU, ECU or both.
VS. THE AAC. BYU is 20-5 against the American Athletic Conference as currently constituted. The Cougars have played Tulsa the most, holding a 7-1 record against the Golden Hurricane.
GAME SIX. Under Coach Mendenhall, the BYU is 9-1 in game six of the regular season, with the only loss coming last season to Central Florida in overtime.
FOURTH QUARTER SCORING. BYU has outscored its opponents 56-17 in the fourth quarter this year. BYU scored 20 or more points twice in the fourth quarter this year (Boise State and UConn). The Cougars have never had 20-plus points in the fourth quarter in two games in any season under Mendenhall. BYU has hit the 20-point mark in the fourth quarter in six games under Mendenhall. It marks the first time BYU has scored 20 or more fourth-quarter points twice in a season since 1995.
GETTING BEHIND THE LINE. In 2014, the Cougars were 4-0 when notching at least three sacks in a game. In 2015, they are 3-0. Since 2005, BYU is 44-2 when notching three or more sacks in a single game.
"It was fun to have another night at LaVell Edwards Stadium. I was impressed with our student section. They've been the best since I've been the coach at BYU. It's adding a nice element to our home game atmosphere."
"I think there are areas of the program that did well, especially Tanner and his ability to throw the football. Our receivers played well–Terenn Houk in particular. Mitch Mathews and Mitchell Juergens did a nice job too. We threw and caught the ball more than we have prior to the Michigan game. I really thought Francis Bernard added a nice spark in the run game. Algie Brown was consistent throughout the game, but when we really needed to finish the game, Francis did a nice job as Algie wore down with his injury."
"Defensively, we were fairly consistent. We knew if we did a nice job of containing their quarterback that they would struggle and be inconsistent and I think that's what happened. Our return game started to improve a little bit, specifically our kick returns. We're been working hard on that. Surprisingly, we didn't kick field goals well like we normally do. However, execution and discipline, especially as we got closer to the goal line, prevented that game from being more comfortable early. I was still happy with the outcome and still happy with the win. Our team is improving, but there are obviously areas that we need to continually work on."
On East Carolina: "I'm impressed with what I've seen of East Carolina. I think they're a good team and it will be a good challenge. They have two quarterbacks, and they have been playing both the past couple of games, so we'll prepare for both. Their point production has gone way up when they put their running quarterback in, but we're aware of both."
"Most of the time we're having the ball moved on us is our communication and a lack thereof or our assignments and a lack thereof. I'm working to make it as simple as possible. The last game plan was the simplest that we've had yet, but they played it faster and they played it better."
On BYU defense being strong on third down: "It allows us to get off the field and manage points, but you don't get to third down unless you play well on first and second. We're making in-roads on that. I'm pretty comfortable that when we get to third down now, we have answers and we can create confusion, pressure, and indecision at the quarterback position no matter who it is . We're getting there more often now, and we're playing better once we're there. That gives us a great chance to keep the points where they need to be."
On the offensive line: "We did pretty good. There are always things you can work, but I think we did well. Our goal every game is to try and neutralize the defensive live and there were a few times here and there where they made plays. We're trying to eliminate that against ECU.
Difference between Michigan and UConn: " We were a lot more excited to play and we were more prepared. We were excited to play and ready to be playing at home. We were ready to go come Friday night."
On Kyle Johnson's injury: "We miss Kyle out there, but Tuni Kanuch and Ului Lapuaho stepped up and did great. Whoever is in there will do a great job. We trust whomever is in there. But, hopefully we'll get Kyle back soon."
What needs to be done to finish drives: "We had a lot of opportunities to finish drives against UConn, but we only punted once. A lot of our drives ended on turnovers or penalties setting us back. We've got to watch out for those and eliminate those mistakes and mental errors. I think we'll be a pretty good offense if we can get those things done."
On where the offense is at: "The sky is the limit for the offense. I feel our offense played okay against UConn, but I feel like we'll keep getting better each week."
Production level was higher than the previous week, obviously. They were a good team. If you look back at Michigan, their scheme is a lot stronger than UConn’s was. They have better recruits and athletes on the field, but UConn still did really well. That loss of zero points really gave us a push in practice and in preparing during the week. It was fun to see guys make plays in side and outside of school.
On Tanner’s progress:
He got thrown into the fire, the hardest schedule in college football. To perform so well as he did is awesome, especially as a freshman. That’s a huge learning curve. He broke a record last game. I think his learning curve is steep, but as smart he is and as bad as wants to play, he’s taken it on like a champ. He’s a great quarterback. Our timing is different. He’s a different player, but we’ve made those adjustments and now I know where he wants me to be. It’s taken a few games, but we’re clicking better than we have and that has to happen. You have to go through that learning curve. There’s no one else I would want to battle with right now than him.
Moving forward from Michigan:
Michigan was the best team I’ve ever played. We can blame it on the two time zones we had to travel across and play an early morning game in the biggest stadium we’ve ever had to play in, but we didn’t come ready to play that game. It’s one of those things where focus on preparation was the biggest part and we played a lot better this week.
Taysom’s role on the team:
His role is different, it’s less vocal and on the field because he can’t be. It’s hard to yell and be vocal if you’re not out there grinding and doing what the team is doing. You’ll see him at the hotel with the quarterbacks going through plays and giving them expertise.
We watch film and recognize what they do. They put up a lot of points so it will be a long game. You’ll be in your seats for a while because they pass a lot and we pass a lot. It will be like the Houston game a couple years ago. There will be lots of points scored. It will be a game of resilience. There will be lots of ups and downs. They will score, we will score. I know our defense will pull through for us and we will pull through for them. Does it scare us? No. We’re glad they’re a good team, because now we have to prepare harder and you realize that going in. Our preparation will be huge this week.
Michael Wadsworth, DB, Sr.
Defense against UConn:
The big plays they had were on our missed assignments or us not executing as well as we could. We feel like we’re in full control on what we give up on defense. If we play the scheme as it is designed and everyone’s assignments are sound and eyes on their keys, we will be able to play anyone in the country real tough.
Mindset on third down:
Our mindset on third down is to do whatever we can to get off the field. A lot of the play calls are more aggressive and our coverage is more confusing. Scheme wise we try to rotate who’s blitzing and who’s covering in the deep paths. We try to cause confusion on the offense.
How to balance aggression:
It’s a hard line to tip toe and to balance. I’ve heard people say I’d rather err on the side of aggression than not make the play out of fear. I’m all about that, erring on the side of aggression than giving up points for fear of getting called on a penalty.
Starting this season:
It’s a dream. I couldn’t believe this would happen. It’s been a goal of mine coming into this season and last year. I’ve been blessed to be able to stay healthy and be able to make the plays when they come my way. It’s been an awesome experience.
Mindset of team:
Coach congratulated us on the win and said it’s awesome for us to be able to bounce back from Michigan, but there’s still tons of room for improvement. Being able to motivate our guys on the offense from a defensive player side and the same of offense. When the defense is out on the field, we want everyone to be engaged in the game, see your coaches and then be engaged in the game and cheer everyone on. We didn’t start the game super well on either side. So try to motivate each other and help each other out.