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Provo • Boise native Tanner Mangum isn't the only Cougar with bittersweet feelings about playing the No. 20-ranked Boise State Broncos this Saturday at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Like Mangum, junior receiver Colby Pearson, who is from Blackfoot, Idaho, narrowed his choices to BYU and Boise State before picking BYU. Recruited less than Mangum, the 6-foot, 190-pound Pearson had offers from both schools to be a preferred walk-on. He has since earned a scholarship.
"Oh man, I love it," Pearson said Wednesday when asked about playing against Boise State. "I have it circled on my schedule every year, being from Idaho. So I am looking forward to it."
Blackfoot is in Southeastern Idaho, near Pocatello, on the other side of the state than Boise, but Pearson says "it is a huge game for me personally, for a lot of reasons."
The Cougars were crushed 55-30 on the blue turf last year, but Pearson had his best game of the season, catching an 81-yard touchdown pass and finishing with 109 yards on five catches.
To him, Boise State-BYU is a big rivalry game.
"It always seems to be a gritty game, pretty physical and stuff," he said. "I would say yeah, because geographically they are pretty close, and I live right in the middle."
Pearson said his hometown is split almost evenly between BYU and Boise State fans, perhaps tilted slightly toward the team from Idaho.
"Hopefully that changes a little bit for a couple people on Saturday," he said.
Pearson was one of nine Cougars who caught passes against Nebraska, finishing with three receptions for 28 yards.
Anae on the offense
Offensive coordinator Robert Anae acknowledged Wednesday that his staff will have to go back to the drawing board for its game plan this week as Mangum takes over for Taysom Hill.
"That's what we are working on this week, is designing an offense that fits Tanner, his skill set and his familiarity," Anae said. "That's been the job of the week."
Fortunately for the offense, it is used to having to make a drastic change because pocket passer Christian Stewart relieved the dual threat Hill last year.
"There is a difference with Taysom's skill set and Tanner's skill set," Anae said. "We don't quite really know the extent of Tanner's skill sets. We are still in the discovery part of it."
The Cougars are deep at receiver which should help the transition but without Jamaal Williams (withdrew from school) and Francis Bernard (broken finger), the running back corps is thin and relatively inexperienced.
However, Anae bristled when it was suggested fans should be concerned about the lack of a running attack against Nebraska.
"Get all the guys that are concerned with the run game to go put on a hat and let them coach," he said. "I am excited that our fellows went up there and played their guts out and look forward to the opportunity here."
BYU received votes in the AP Top 25 Poll on Tuesday and would be ranked No. 27 if the poll extended that far. Boise State moved from 23 to 20 after its 16-13 win over Washington. … Special teams coach Kelly Poppinga said freshman returned missionary Micah Hannemann has won the job as BYU's primary punt returner. … Poppinga said freshman Koy Detmer Jr. is the scout team quarterback. "Imagine Ty Detmer, but 5-9," Poppinga said. "He makes a ton of plays."
No. 20 Boise State at BYU
Saturday, 8:15 p.m. MT