PROVO – BYU football won its final home game of the season against Fresno State 52-10 on Senior Day to finish the season undefeated at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
BYU (8-3) outgained Fresno State (3-8, 2-5 Mountain West) 520 yards to 275. The Cougars were a perfect 5 for 5 on red-zone attempts in the win and forced three turnovers leading to 21 points.
Tanner Mangum went 24 of 37 for 336 yards and one touchdown. Moroni Laulu-Pututau led the Cougars with 95 receiving yards and one touchdown. In rushing yards, Algernon Brown led the team with 97 yards and one touchdown. Francis Bernard had two touchdowns with 45 total yards.
For the defense, Bronson Kaufusi filled out the stat sheet. He had a team-high five total tackles, four tackles for loss, one pass breakup and three sacks. Kai Nacua had two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, his second pick-six of the season. Fred Warner also had an interception to go along with his four total tackles.
“Overall, it was a solid win, a win that we hoped for and expected,” BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “We had the chance to play a lot of younger players. We’ll keep assessing where the program is that way. I’m just grateful that this senior class played well enough and led well enough to make us undefeated at home.”
Offense started off sluggish for both teams in the first quarter with three and outs for both teams’ first series. The Cougars attempted a fake punt on fourth down, but the Bulldogs stopped it and put themselves in good field position. The BYU defense held Fresno State to a 28-yard field goal to take the early 3-0 lead with 5:11 remaining in the quarter.
In the Cougars’ next series, they answered back. Receptions by Mitchell Juergens, Colby Pearson and Bernard put BYU in position for Trevor Samson to kick a 40-yard field goal and tie it up with four minutes to go in the first quarter.
Mitch Mathews caught a 45-yard pass from Mangum in the first play of the second quarter to put the Cougars in the scoring position. With 13:25 on the clock, Bernard leaped over the defense into the end zone to score the first touchdown of the game and take the 10-3 lead.
For the second time this season, Nacua picked off the ball and returned it for a touchdown. The pick-six extended BYU’s lead to 16-3 with 7:21 until the break.
In Fresno State’s next series, Warner picked off the Bulldogs and returned it for 27 yards. With 6:11 left in the quarter, Mangum found Laulu-Pututau for the 18-yard touchdown, which was his first touchdown reception of his career. The Cougars successfully completed a two-point conversion with a pass to Terenn Houk in the corner of the end zone, pushing the lead to 24-3.
BYU scored two touchdowns in the third quarter while holding Fresno State scoreless. Two 14-yard gains by Brown and Nick Kurtz set up Bernard to rush in on the 1-yard line with 9:59 left in the third to score his second touchdown. Brown broke loose for 45-yards with 5:06 on the clock to score the other touchdown in the third quarter, making it 38-3.
A 54-yard reception by Laulu-Pututau at the end of the third quarter set up another Cougar touchdown to start the fourth. Former defensive lineman turned tight end Remington Peck took the ball on a reverse and threw the ball 15 yards to Houk for the touchdown on the trick play, extending the lead to 45-3 with 14:52 to play.
Another interception from Nacua set up Nate Carter to rush five yards for the touchdown, just over two minutes after the Cougars’ last scoring drive. The Bulldogs responded by scoring their first touchdown on the game on a 29-yard rush, making it 52-10 with 8:42 remaining in the game.
BYU hits the road for its final regular-season game against Utah State on Saturday at 1 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcast live on the CBS Sports Network.
Stats: BYU 52, FSU 10
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