This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Provo • Tanner Mangum brought his magic back from Nebraska on Saturday night.
BYU's freshman quarterback, a week after throwing a Hail Mary to beat the Cornhuskers, threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Mitchell Juergens on fourth-and-7 with 45 seconds remaining to give the Cougars a wild 35-24 come-from-behind win over Boise State in front of 63,470 fans at sold-out LaVell Edwards Stadium.
After Mangum's lob to the end zone was caught by Juergens, Boise State took possession, but Kai Nacua returned an interception 50 yards for a touchdown on the Broncos' first offensive play Nacua's third pick of the game.
Nacua's three interceptions ties Tyson Smith's school record set in 2000 against Wyoming.
The Cougars improved to 2-0, while the No. 20-ranked Broncos fell to 1-1 and lost for the second-straight time at LES.
Mangum struggled most of the night, but finished with 309 yards passing and two touchdowns with two interceptions.
Boise State's Ryan Finley threw for 297 yards, but three costly interceptions.
Jeremy McNichols' 3-yard touchdown on Boise State's first possession of the third quarter gave the Broncos a 17-7 lead.
Lethargic since a game-opening 84-yard touchdown pass from Mangum to Juergens, BYU's offense finally got moving midway through the third quarter when Mangum found Devon Blackmon wide open for a 70-yard gain. Adam Hine's 21-yard touchdown run cut the deficit to 17-14 with 4:32 remaining in the third quarter.
But the Broncos had an answer.
They quickly drove 86 yards on six plays, and regained control when McNichols took a screen pass 29 yards for a TD with 2:03 left in the third.
BYU had to punt, but Nacua's second interception and return to the BSU 12 rescued the Cougars early in the fourth quarter. After a wild sequence of penalties on both teams erased a touchdown and then gave BYU life after a would-be sack, Mangum's 1-yard sneak cut Boise State's lead to 24-21.
BYU's go-ahead drive started on its own 36 yard line with 3:33 remaining. Mangum was sacked on second down and then threw an incomplete pass to the end zone before the connection with Juergens.
BYU's only offensive highlight in the first half came on the game's third play.
Mangum picked up where he left off against Nebraska, throwing the home to Juergens to give the Cougars a quick 7-0 lead on their first possession. The freshman rolled right on third-and-19 and found Juergens alone behind the coverage.
It was the fifth-longest pass play in BYU history.
Mangum went to the well again after the Cougars took over near midfield, but his bomb was picked off by Donte Deayon.
The Broncos got on the board with 4:13 remaining in the first quarter by driving 52 yards. Jeremy McNichols capped it off with a tackle-breaking 3-yard touchdown run.
The Cougars did not sustain a drive the entire first half, and were forced to punt five times; Deayon picked off Mangum again to thwart another drive.
Tyler Rausa kicked a 31-yard field goal to send the Broncos into halftime with a 10-7 lead. The Cougars were fortunate to trail by only three at the half, because Boise State had excellent field position the entire second quarter and could muster just three points.
On one possession midway through the second quarter, Mangum threw a 41-yard pass to Juergens and the Cougars were in business near midfield. But a bad snap that lost 11 yards, a Mangum fumble that lost a bunch more and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Lui Lapuaho after he recovered the fumble the offensive lineman threw a punch put BYU in a 4th-and-51 situation.
Nacua, back from a one-game suspension for his role in the Miami Beach Bowl brawl, made a nice interception near the goal line to stop one Boise State scoring threat.
But that play and the Juergens TD catch were about all BYU fans had to cheer about in the first half. The Cougars had minus-14 rushing yards in the first half and just 155 yards, 84 on the big pass play. The Cougars picked up just 71 yards on their last 32 plays of the first half.
Boise State had 189 yards in the first half, as Finley went 13 for 20 for 153 yards, and was sacked just once in the first 30 minutes.