PROVO, Utah – Late-game heroics won the game for BYU football for the second time in as many games with a late touchdown pass and pick-six to seal a 35-24 win over No. 20/22 Boise State on Saturday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
With 45 seconds left, down 24-21, freshman Tanner Mangum scrambled on fourth down from the Boise State (1-1, 0-0) 35-yard line and threw to a leaping Mitchell Juergens for the go-ahead touchdown for BYU (2-0).
Playing with a 28-24 lead inside of 40 seconds to go, Kai Nacua recorded his third interception of the night and returned it 50 yards for a touchdown, securing the 35-24 victory over the Broncos.
Mangum finished the game 17 of 28 for 309 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. He became just the second BYU true freshman quarterback to win his first start. Taysom Hill is the only other player to win his first start as a true freshman (vs. Hawaii, 2012).
Senior running back Adam Hine rushed for 93 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries. Juergens had a career night with 172 receiving yards and two touchdowns on just four receptions. Devon Blackmon also eclipsed the 100-yard receiving mark with six catches and 105 yards.
BYU trailed 24-14 in the fourth quarter before the run-game for the Cougars picked up and the defense pulled the reins back on the Broncos.
After Nacua's second pick, BYU pounded the ball inside and Mangum's quarterback keeper made it a three-point game with 10:22 remaining in the game. The Cougar defense forced back-to-back punts for set up another comeback.
The game started out fast when Mangum threw an 84-yard pass to Juergens for a touchdown on just the third play of the game, taking the early 7-0 lead with only 51 seconds off the clock. The touchdown was the fifth-longest pass play in BYU history.
With four minutes left in the first quarter, Boise State evened it up with a seven-play, 52-yard drive, capped by a Jeremy McNichols three-yard touchdown run.
Each team traded interceptions again, but the second quarter remained scoreless until Boise State's Tyler Rausa kicked a 31-yard field goal to put the Broncos up 10-7 heading into the break.
Boise State benifited from a personal foul miscue from BYU in the third quarter when a would-be third-down stop was negated. The Broncos took advantage and took a 17-7 lead with another rushing touchdown from McNichols with 11:01 left in the quarter.
On the next drive, facing a third-and-19, Mangum found Blackmon for a 70-yard reception to put the team on the 23-yard line. With 4:32 in the third quarter, Hine broke three tackles, rushing 21 yards for a touchdown, to cut Boise State’s lead to 17-14.
McNichols answered right back for Boise State, scoring another touchdown on a 29-yard catch-and-run to push the Bronco lead to 24-14. Boise State wouldn't get much on offense in the fourth quarter with drives ending in two interceptions and two punts before the game was over.
BYU heads back on the road to take on UCLA next Saturday in the Rose Bowl at 7:30 p.m. PDT. The game will be broadcast on FOX Sports 1 and will be available on the Cougar IMG Sports Network along with KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM.
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