BYU started strong and used the best defensive play we’ve seen all season to jump out to an early lead and held that lead until three minutes remained in the 4th quarter. UCLA implemented a hurry-up offense and rushed to a come-from-behind victory to beat BYU 24-23.
Coach Mendenhall dialed up a variety of unconventional blitz packages to frustrate the prolific and highly touted Josh Rosen. The Cougars jumped ahead first on an Adam Hine seven yard touchdown run. Harvey Langi dialed up two interceptions, and Kai Nacua picked off Rosen in the end zone to run out the clock in the first half, holding Rosen to only 52 yards passing and no touchdowns.
UCLA came out punching in the 3rd quarter and quickly scored on a Paul Perkins touchdown run to even the score at 10. Mangum and company quickly answered with a seven play drive that ended on a Mangum to Mathews 14 yard touchdown pass. From that point on BYU didn't score another touchdown, trusting in Trevor Samson to nail two clutch field goals. UCLA went away from Rosen completely and starting gashing the BYU defense with the run game, taking their first lead on a Nate Starks touchdown run. Mangum and the offense got down the field quickly to attempt Mangum Miracle #3 but Mangum was picked off on 4th and 7 with about a minute left in the game by the UCLA star LB Myles Jack.
Unlike the previous two games, BYU did not win the 4th quarter, in fact they won everything except the 4th quarter. This loss will not sit easy in the stomachs of Cougar Nation, but there were some great performances to be excited about. Adam Hine delivered 149 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. The defense came up with three big-time interceptions. Lastly and perhaps most importantly, Tanner Mangum went toe to toe with Josh Rosen, and outplayed him. Obviously it didn’t break our way, but you still have to be excited about the potential for the rest of this season. A New Year’s Six bowl game isn’t entirely out of the question, and the road to January kicks off next week in the Big House next Saturday.