GREENVILLE, N.C. – BYU fell 33-17 to East Carolina Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, the Cougars seventh straight defeat.
Despite a season-high 421 yards of total offense, the late offensive push wasn’t enough to mount a comeback.
“We had some good moments and we had some positive yards but the scoreboard doesn’t indicate a lot of the positive things we saw,” head coach Kalani Sitake said. “Now we have to rally back and find a way to keep playing and keep competing and work for the seniors for the rest of the season.”
Aleva Hifo led BYU receivers with a career-best 148 yards on nine receptions, with a long of 46. Matt Bushman and Micah Simon both recorded their first career touchdowns. Tanner Mangum finished 26 of 41 for 319 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Mangum threw for over 200 yards in the fourth quarter.
BYU had four possessions in the fourth quarter but could only find the end zone once in the final frame.
Fred Warner had a season-high 11 tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss while Zayne Anderson tied his season high of nine tackles and forced a fumble.
Midway through the first quarter, Anderson forced a fumble and Adam Pulsipher recovered it. Two and a half minutes later, a 12-yard touchdown pass from Mangum to Simon capped off a five-play, 28-yard scoring drive. Kicker Rhett Almond connected on the extra point to give BYU a 7-0 advantage.
ECU equalized on its next possession as quarterback Thomas Sirk ran one yard into the end zone with 3:09 left in the quarter on fourth down to make it 7-7.
The Pirates took the lead early in the second quarter, 10-7, after Jake Verity’s 42-yard field goal attempt bounced off the inside of the upright and in with 10:35 on the clock.
Nine plays and 70 yards later, Almond hit a 21-yard field goal to even the score 10-10 heading into halftime.
ECU extended its lead three minutes into the second half, 13-10, on Verity’s second 42-yarder of the night.
BYU’s Corbin Kaufusi got a hand on Verity’s third field goal attempt, but the 32-yard kick was still good and put the Pirates up 16-10 with 6:17 on the clock.
Near the end of the third quarter, Verity connected on his fourth field goal from 33 yards out to increase ECU’s advantage 19-10.
The Pirates went 67 yards down the field en route to a 26-yard touchdown pass for a 26-10 lead less than two minutes into the fourth quarter.
BYU drove down to the Pirate 4-yard line but stalled on fourth-down to give the ball back to the home team.
After a defensive stop, ECU intercepted a pass from Mangum on the 12-yard line and scored two plays later, 33-10.
With 3:48 left in the game, Mangum found Bushman in the end zone on a 12-yard pass for Bushman’s first career touchdown and a final score of 33-17.
The Cougars return home to host San Jose State Saturday, Oct. 28 at 1 p.m. MDT. The game will be televised on BYUtv and ESPN3 with radio broadcasts on KSL (1160 AM/102.7 FM) and BYU Radio (Sirius XM 143).
Game book: BYU-ECUGameStats
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