PROVO — Tanner Mangum is creating quite a reputation for himself.
The freshman quarterback, whose Hail Mary vs. Nebraska saved the game last week for BYU, showed that sequels can be as good as the original by tossing a 35-yard TD pass on fourth down against Boise State with under a minute to play to help the Cougars beat the Broncos 35-24 Saturday night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Mitchell Juergens hauled in the pass with 45 seconds left on a play that had a lot of similarities to the Nebraska game-winner. Like the last play of the Cornhusklers game, Mangum was flushed out of the pocket and rolled right. He then tossed a high-arching pass that Juergens pulled in with two hands, outmuscling the defenders for the ball.
“I feel like I’ve lived a whole season of emotion in two games,” BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall told ESPN after the game.
Kai Nacua sealed the win with a pick-six interception of Boise State quarterback Ryan Finley with 30 seconds left. It was Nacua’s third interception of the game.
The Broncos led 24-14 heading into the fourth quarter, but Mangum led his team on a short drive after Nacua’s second interception of the night. A QB sneak from the 1 by Mangum made it 24-21 with 10:22 left to play.
Later in the fourth, BYU’s defense, which had been susceptible to the pass most of the night, stiffened in the final period, forcing a punt that set the Cougars up at their own 36-yard line with 3:33 left in the game.
With a couple of short passes and a 19-yard run by former Snow Canyon standout Adam Hine, BYU had a first down at the Boise State 38-yard line. However, three plays netted just 3 yards and the Cougars faced fourth-and-7 at the Boise 35.
Mangum, who grew up minutes from the Boise State campus in Idaho, scrambled to get open and heave a deep ball on that fourth down play. Juergens, who was having a monster night already, broke free from the pack in the end zone and jumped up to make the go-ahead grab. His two-handed catch came about 6-yards deep into the end zone.
With BYU ahead 28-24, the Broncos tried to rally in the final 45 seconds. But Finley’s first pass after the touchback kickoff, a post play, was over the head of the intended target and right into the arms of the safety, Nacua, who returned it 50 yards to ice the win for BYU.
Nacua, who was suspended last week and was at the center of controversy after his role in BYU’s season-ending brawl in the Miami Beach Bowl, played spectacularly, picking off three passes and racking up 76 yards in returns after those picks. He also had five tackles and a pass break-up.
Mangum, making his first start, passed for 309 yards and two TDs and two interceptions. Hine, a senior from Santa Clara, Utah, rushed for 93 yards and a TD. Jurgens had two TD catches in the game, including an 84-yarder in the first quarter after Mangum had scrambled around and found time for his receiver to get behind the defense. Juergens finished with 172 receiving yards on four catches, while Devon Blackmon had 105 yards on six catches.
Finley had 297 passing yards for Boise State, which fell to 1-1 with the loss. The Broncos only rushed for 64 yards on 31 carries in the game.
BYU, 2-0, continues its tough early-season schedule with a trip to UCLA next Saturday night. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. (MT) and the game is being broadcast on FoxSports1 television.
Stats: BYU 35, BSU 24
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